Audience as Subject is a two-part exhibition that reverses the role of the audience from that of spectator to subject, exposing the dramatic mechanisms underlying public gatherings of people. By focusing the viewer's attention on the characteristics and behaviors of individuals in a group environment – body language, facial expressions, attitudes, gestures and actions – the artists challenge our perceptions about participation in civic life. They reveal what we collectively become when we gather together to participate in a common experience and and investigate the effect this process has on our individuality. The two parts of the exhibition will take place at YBCA over a period of approximately two years. Part 1 explores medium-sized audiences in such venues as concert halls, theaters and lecture halls. Part 2 examines the differences between large audiences, such as those attending sporting events, political rallies and outdoor performances, with audiences for smaller, more intimate events, including television viewing and computer interaction.
Part 1: Medium
The collaborative team of caraballo-farman present Venerations (Applause 3), 2009/2010, an installation in which hundreds of clips of audiences applauding in TV studios for live talk shows are shown continuously on multiple video screens surrounding the viewer. The artists' work traces the convergence of religion, entertainment and politics when individuals who make up an audience bond beyond reason to produce shared emotional states and spontaneous rituals.
Stefan Constantinescu’s film, Troleibuzul 92 (2009), features a man on a trolley bus making several phone calls to his wife or girlfriend, often threatening her in an abusive manner, in view of the other passengers, who become an unwilling audience. The work examines how actions and behavior that take place in the public realm, and the "theatricalization" of social practices, affect viewers' experience and their reaction to it.
For her video installation Isola Bella (2007-2008), Danica Dakić works within the framing device of a theatrical setting, instructing non-actors selected from the audience to tell their life stories, using classical forms of storytelling. Staged in front of an elaborate 19th-century wallpaper backdrop, the actors, residents of the Home for the Protection of Children and Youth near Sarajevo, relate incidents from their own lives, often referencing the trauma of war, with their faces hidden behind fanciful masks.
For Adrian Paci, the main factor that binds groups together is cultural identity, symbolized by participation in common actions that become the mechanisms for the socialization of individuals. Shot in Shkoder, Albania, the artist's birth city, the video Turn On (2004) features middle-aged Albanian workers as they transition from a day of laboring to sitting together on the steps of the town square.
Shizu Saldamando's portraits focus on individual style, identity and group dynamics at social events, especially those featuring pop culture. She will create a new work for this exhibition based on the audiences that come to YBCA.
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde is interested in how the collective processes of leftist politics interact with individuals confronted with violence perpetrated by militarist arms of government. In his animations, the stage is a place where the populace needs to either declare its strength in numbers through participation in a chorus, or expose their vulnerability through individual voices.
Ulla von Brandenburg's work centers on the exploration of theater as a construct and the boundaries between audience and actors, subject and object, reality and illusion. She draws on different cultural and historical references, as well as older conventions of representation to create layered, symbolic, codified narratives that explore patterns of behavior and enigmatic ritual. For her wall painting, Publikum (Audience) (2008) von Brandenburg's depiction of a theater audience staring at the stage hovers between illusion and spector as a mirror effect between the image and the viewer.
Adrian Paci Lecture at San Francisco Art InstituteOct 27, 2010 6:30pm
San Francisco Art InstituteFree
Adrian Paci creates artwork that addresses shifting regimes and cultural flux. He originally trained as a classical painter in his native Albania, but civil war forced him to relocate to Italy in 1997. Since that time, he has been working with video, photography, and sculpture to examine the desolation of displacement and to commemorate both the traditions and the struggles of his country.
Audience RoundtableOct 30, 2010 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Youth Arts LoungeFREE w/Gallery Admission
Artists from the exhibitions Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium and Yoshua Okón: 2007 — 2010 discuss the role of the audience in their work. The relationship between the artists and the collective viewing body they imagine is considered, as well as questions around group dynamics, individuated vs. group identity, and what is revealed by portraying audience reactions separated from the object of attention or implicated by the performance on view.
Participants: Leonor Caraballo, Danica Dakic, Abou Farman, Yoshua Okón, Adrian Paci, and Shizu Saldamando
caraballo–farman is a two-person team working in video, installation and photography since 2001. Their work focuses on public rituals and collective acts exploring the relationship between individuals and groups, unit and structure, and the ways in which one enables the other while also dissolving it. Their work has been shown around the world at galleries, museums, festivals and biennials.
Stefan Constantinescu was born 1968 in Bucharest; he lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden and Bucharest, Romania. He received his BA from Art University Bucharest in 1996 and his MA from Royal Academy of Arts, Stockholm in 1998. Exploring the multiple valences of documentary film, the archive and artist book, Constantinescu constructs his discourse around the symbolic and power relationships that exist between personal destiny and history in order to analyze the processes of dislocation and translation which characterize contemporary social reality.
Danica Dakić was born in 1962 in Sarajevo. She creates sculptural installations, site-specific video projections and public architectural sound projects to investigate the corporal and global aspects of identity and language, as well as the tensions that arise between collective and individual experience. She lives in Duesseldorf and Sarajevo.
Adrian Paci, who was born in 1969 in Albania, trained as a classical painter in Tirana, the country's capital. When civil war forced him to relocate to Italy in 1997, he turned to video, photography and sculpture to examine the desolation of displacement and to commemorate both the traditions and the hard times back home.
Shizu Saldamando was born and raised in San Francisco's Mission district and received her BA from UCLA's School of Arts and Architecture in 2000. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles. In her work, Saldamando translates her snapshot photographs into drawings and paintings that depict her friends in social situations in bars, dance clubs, backyard parties and art galleries. She simplifies and in some cases completely eliminates the background to decontextualize the specific setting. In so doing, she creates multi-layered portraits that are both spare and complex.
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde was born 1976 in Lima, Peru, and currently lives and works in Mexico City. The artist organizes his work in projects, which are developed through drawing, animation, performance or video. Velarde shows a particular view of the human condition through biting critiques of the contemporary world; the basic premise is his work is recognizing his own complicity with that world. His work focuses on an excess of egocentrism, an enthusiastic faith in scientific knowledge, compulsively repeated traumatic situations and a sexual energy that simultaneously corrupts and harmonizes his cartoonish manner.
Ulla von Brandenburg
Ulla von Brandenburg was born in Germany but currently lives and works in Paris. She works in a diverse range of media to create complex, multi-layered narratives that investigate the thresholds between reality and artifice as a means to explain contemporary collective experiences. Often working with archaic traditions, such as the tableau vivant, she appropriates historical source material and transforms it into the present to reveal the rules governing our social reality. www.pilarcorrias.com/#/artists/ulla_von_brandenburg/biography
YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
The San Francisco Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Adobe Foundation Fund
YBCA Exhibitions 10–11 is made possible in part by:
Meridee Moore and Kevin King, CEC ArtsLink and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Free First Tuesdays
Underwritten by Directors Forum Members