Exhibition: Quarantania, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, until June 9 2012
© Courtesy Taus Makhacheva
If exhibitions at John Hansard are prone to widening our eyes and broadening our minds, Southampton’s (arguably) most adventurous gallery finds a typically worldly vantage point here.
Taus Makhacheva, the artist whose works open proceedings, was born in Dagestan, the most ethnically-diverse are of Russia. That allowed her to witness all sorts of groups reacting to each other’s cultures.
For her part, Makhacheva donned disguises and attempted “infiltrating” these contrasting communities, documented here in three films – The Fast and the Furious, Portrait of Avar and R e k h e n (Avar language: flock) – as well as a set of sculptures and photos.
Neha Choksi is more interested in disappearing completely, threatening to do so by anaesthetising herself and four farmyard animals for a performance video, Minds to Lose, from 2008, and reducing both equine and human states to unconsciousness in the process.
In another film, Leaf Fall, she sees a rural tree having its leaves carted off, which is surely a landmark moment in any self-respecting trunk’s evolving annual identity.
The third explorer, Eva Kotátková, is one of Prague’s most prodigious new talents. Her striking sculptures ponder the boundaries of daily life here, enclosing a domestic couch inside a wrought iron cage.
- Open 11am-5pm (4pm Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday). Admission free.
© Courtesy Neha Choksi
© Courtesy Eva Kotátková