Critics’ Picks

7 AM, 2006, still from a color video, 5 minutes 45 seconds.

7 AM, 2006, still from a color video, 5 minutes 45 seconds.

Vienna

Imogen Stidworthy

Galerie Hohenlohe
Baeckerstrasse 3 1010 Wien
November 15, 2006–February 3, 2007

British-born Imogen Stidworthy belongs to that small circle of artists already selected to participate in the forthcoming Documenta 12; here she is showing three video works that explore both language and its absence. In To, 1996, we observe Stidworthy and her father on two monitors. On one, she takes notes on a monologue he recites; on the other, we see him seated naked in the same room as if posing for a portrait. A similarly fraught and powerful encounter is at the center of Substitutes, 2002. Here, words are scrambled as the sound track alternates between voices murmuring in five distinct languages and a native song sung by two young Romanians wearing the shirts of their nation’s soccer team. The song’s lyrics appear during the credits; in a sentiment perhaps symptomatic of the subjects of Stidworthy’s videos, one of the lines reads “caught in your thoughts.” In her latest work, 7 AM, 2006—filmed in Tian Tan Park in Beijing—her subjects withdraw into their own private worlds as they perform their early-morning exercises. Stidworthy has called her first solo exhibition at the gallery “Get here,” though she fails to tell us where “here” might be: Is it in our minds, in the encounters she depicts, or in the space between the two?