Gerard Byrne, A Man and a Woman Make Love, 2012, multi-channel projection, color, video, 19 minutes.


“Gerard Byrne: A State of Neutral Pleasure”

Whitechapel Gallery
77 - 82 Whitechapel High Street
January 17–March 8, 2013

Curated by Kirsty Ogg

Gerard Byrne’s practice is a gently vertiginous one: We construe the present, the Irish artist suggests, in relation to a past we know only via suspect representations. Accentuating this—sometimes through his actors’ inappropriate accents—Byrne engineers video installations that wonkily restage conversations pulled from broadcasting and magazine archives. He brings Brechtian unraveling and tangled temporality to bear on historical evidence that has been, to some degree, theatricalized or mediated at its source: an acted version of a future-predicting 1963 Playboy roundtable among twelve well-known science-fiction writers in 1984 and Beyond, 2005; a 1920s discussion involving a group of Surrealists, restaged as a television play in front of a studio audience, in A Man and a Woman Make Love, 2012. The latter, shown at Documenta 13, receives its UK premiere in this survey, alongside six other film installations and Byrne’s parallel strand of photographic works.