The Why Not Gallery is glad to present CREDIT. Credit group show comprised of the video Credits by Hannah Black and the photo print Old by Zura Tsopurashvili. The exhibition explores living conditions in the age of capitalism and some core anxieties that this system bore.
In the video Credits the audience becomes the artist and observes themselves walk around real and virtual forests. The walk, accompanied with bird whistling and bristling sound of footsteps is both full of suspense and an air of playfulness. The artist herself occasionally appears in the video wearing a nude latex-like textured mask with no mouth and an elongated nose. The mask seems to be a modern take on the medieval Schandmaske (shame mask) that was used to silence offenders, who disrupted social order (more often women who disobeyed their husbands). These masks as Hannah points out in the video posed as links between social shame and physical attribute and were supposed to encourage the wearers to think about their place in society. The video is in general inspired by the medieval practice of shaming through public humiliation and addresses notions of debt in different historical contexts.
Throughout the video seemingly random sentences and imagery bounce up and down the screen – the artist seems to throw around the clues that the viewer has to piece together to follow Hannah Black’s trail of thoughts, of an artist whose work is always infiltrated with witty references to the Marxist, feminist and black radical theories. The video states ‘PROPERTY AS LAW; PROPERTY AS SAFETY’ acknowledging the supreme values in capitalism and then the anxieties associated with it follow; ‘the risk of not paying the debt interest on time, missing the repayments, damaging ratings, being stripped off the only security – one’s property, feeling one’s body as a burden…‘ These are the realities of today’s living that deepen racial, societal and economic inequalities.
The video is full of references to violent social practices that were once taken as a norm, hinting maybe one day capitalism and its methods of regulating will be deemed as scandalously offensive as the 19th century the study of Eugenics. The feeling of a possible change is further intensified with random appearance of Doggerland, a now-sunken piece of land that once connected Great Britain to the mainland Europe. Both digital constructions and maps of the land come to signify historical moment of different societal order, free from concepts of credit and debt, as well as inevitability of change.
The video is superimposed with Zura Tsopurashvili’s photographic print Old. The photo depicts an average looking Georgian man sitting in an armchair, in quite a standard-looking Caucasian interior. However, the man has a laser ray pointed at his forehead. Common trope of thriller movies, the man seems to be in danger he is not aware of. The sight is uncannily linked with the social vulnerabilities that the video Credits is concerned with.
Opening May 10, 6pm