Exhibition Guide

Nashashibi/Skaer

Listen to artists Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer discuss their exhibition at Tate St Ives

view of exhibition

Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

Who are Nashashibi/Skaer?

Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer work independently as artists and have been collaborating as Nashashibi/Skaer since 2005. Their work is made mostly using 16mm film and explores a range of contemporary concerns through art, artists, people and places that interest them. One of their films borrows the artist Paul Gauguin’s gaze on Polynesian women, while others reconsider works by Henri Matisse and Paul Nash, a museum in New York at night, and a diplomat’s residence in Hong Kong.

About the exhibition

This exhibition brings together Nashashibi/Skaer’s films with a selection of works they have chosen from the Tate collection and other sources. Each film becomes a starting point to explore key themes that resonate across the exhibition, from the portrayal of women and the representation of global cultures to the effects of war. By presenting the various works together, Nashashibi/Skaer reflect on how the power of objects and images changes over time. However, they also encourage you to find your own connections between the works on show.

Audio tour

Listen to the artists discuss their films, their collaborative process and the artworks they have selected for their exhibition at Tate St Ives.

visitor sat on a bench wearing headphones and watching artwork on a tv screen

Tanoa Sasraku Ansah Whop, Cawbaby / Swaling Gorse / Flickets 2018 © The artist. Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

close up of visitor watching a film in a dark room

Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

Maggi Hambling, ‘Minotaur Surprised while Eating’ 1986–7
Maggi Hambling
Minotaur Surprised while Eating 1986–7
Tate
© Maggi Hambling. All Rights Reserved 2018 / Bridgeman Images
view of exhibition gallery

Rossella Biscotti I dreamt that you changed into a cat . . . gatto . . . ha ha ha 2013 ©The artist. Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

exhibition gallery view

Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

view of exhibition gallery

Thomas Schütte Ceramic sketches 1997 – 1999 © The artist. Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

Gauri Gill, Rajesh Vangad, ‘The Eye in the Sky’ 2014–16
Gauri Gill, Rajesh Vangad
The Eye in the Sky 2014–16
Tate
© reserved
view of exhibition gallery

Ellen Lesperance Dear Pippa Bacca, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia – Herzegorina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey 2012 The Taprogge Collection © The artist; Winifred Nicholson Netherby Daffodils 1979 Private collection © The Trustees of the estate of Winifred Nicholson. Photo: Ian Kingsnorth

On Paul Nash...

Paul Nash, ‘Flight of the Magnolia’ 1944
Paul Nash
Flight of the Magnolia 1944
Tate

We were initially drawn to Flight of the Magnolia as a painting because it seems like it is already an event unfolding before your eyes. The cloud is morphing into a magnolia flower which also becomes a human ear. Nash, who had been a war artist in the First and Second World Wars, made a surrealism which drew from the experience of violence. We took that kind of vision that he had and tried to go with and unfold it into our own time. Our Magnolia is also Margaret Thatcher in our minds. The war is also the Gulf War. We have continued its language.

On Paul Gauguin...

Nashashibi/Skaer Why Are You So Angry? film still. Courtesy of the artists.

Nashashibi/Skaer Why Are You So Angry? film still. Courtesy of the artists.

Paul Gauguin, ‘Faa Iheihe’ 1898
Paul Gauguin
Faa Iheihe 1898
Tate

We decided to go to Tahiti because we felt that the images in Gauguin’s work of women are the only images that we are aware of... of indigenous women from there... We really felt that it would be interesting with that very narrow viewpoint to go there and to see how that affects our way of looking. We didn’t set out to make a documentary at all. We don't consider [Why Are You Angry?] a documentary. We didn't set out to make a truthful or whole representation of women who live in Tahiti but we did set out to use those paintings as a starting point to explore our own viewpoint... how those images that we could make could exist alongside those paintings.

On the representation of women...

Pierre Bonnard, ‘The Bath’ 1925
Pierre Bonnard
The Bath 1925
Tate

We know that woman's image has been exploited to such an extent that the body and face are rather overwritten culturally… That’s the case with the representation of humans but with women it becomes very extreme, that in a way you can't see the body without the cultural expectations and the idea of relating it to a model, whether that be a model of perfection, or a model of femininity, or motherhood, or a sexual model, or based on the fashion of the time. We had all of this in mind and we knew we couldn’t resolve this but we wanted to open up the questions and see… how certain obvious pitfalls could be sidestepped, tricked, avoided.

Henri Matisse, ‘Back IV’ 1930, cast 1955–6
Henri Matisse
Back IV 1930, cast 1955–6
Tate
© Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2018

The woman is always turned away. An early title we had for the show was Second Husband. We are really interested in the idea of a position of experience, a way of looking through experience rather than youth or innocence. That is, a second look or a more considered look, a bittersweet look. In a way, these women are turning their backs… questioningly or ambivalently… it's a rejection of that total openness of the muse to the artist, it’s a sort of enclosure.

Nashashibi/Skaer: Thinking Through Other Artists is at Tate St Ives until 6 January 2019.

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