group Show
On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time
UC Irvine Contemporary Arts Center, US
20.01.2024 – 07.04.2024

This exhibition is organized in coordination with the release of Mary Kelly’s Concentric Pedagogy: Selected Writings, published by Bloomsbury Press. Following the book’s lead, the exhibition focuses on “project-based” work by a younger generation of artists who have worked closely with Kelly. The exhibition position’s Kelly’s WLM Demo Remix as its thesis. Produced for her Love Songs project—featured in documenta 12 (2007) —WLM is a 90 second projected film-loop with a slow dissolve creating a bridge between past and present representations of the 1970 Women’s Liberation demonstration in New York, producing a visual palimpsest of the political “there-then,” in the “here-now.” In dialogue with the other works featured in this exhibition, WLM becomes a call to heed the repressive politics of the current moment, returning us to such historical pulse points as 1968, 1989, 2001, 2011, 2016 and 2020 as exemplars of resistance.

The exhibition takes its concept of a “political primal scene” from the timely intergenerational, on-line conversation that Kelly moderated for the Tate Modern in 2015. The conversation’s title, On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time, was a nod to Guy Debord’s 1959 semi-autobiographical Situationist film of the same name as well as Kelly's exhibition at Pippy Houldsworth in London (2014). Kelly’s online conversation took a wide-angle view of the “discursive site,” which is, as she put it, fundamentally intergenerational, and at the same time, historically specific. Accordingly, the conversation framed those who were born during or after World War II, whose children were born in the late 60s and 70s, and their grandchildren in the new millennium. As Kelly explains, “What is passed on, from one generation to another, seems to be both a practical question, as Hayden White put it, ‘how to live in the present,’ and a riddle to be deciphered, as Walter Benjamin’s ‘secret agreement’ implies, the transmission of unconscious collective desire, which is, ultimately, the foundation of historical memory. Seen in this way, an era could be defined as the discursive footprint of shared aspirations left by a few people passing through an infinitely brief period of geological time.”

Karl Haendel
“Rodeo 13,” 2023
Pencil and powdered graphite on paper
103" x 85" [HxW]