Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer

8 July 2015
Nashashibi / Skaer, Our Magnolia (2009), 16mm film, B&W/colour, 1:1.33, Optical sound, 5 minutes. Image courtesy Rosalind Nashashibi © Tate, London 2009

The Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery

Nashashibi / Skaer are Rosalind Nashashibi (b.1973, Croydon, UK) and Lucy Skaer (b.1975, Cambridge, UK). They began collaborating in 2005 and both artists have active independent careers. They have participated in numerous group exhibitions at venues including the 2nd Athens Biennial (2009); the 5th Berlin Biennial (2008); Contour Biennial for Moving Image, Mechelen, Belgium (2007); and Tramway, Glasgow (2005). Recent collaborative solo shows include Art Now at Tate Britain (2008); Spike Island, Bristol (2007); and Musée Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France (2013).

Our Magnolia takes as its starting point the surreal landscape painting Flight ofthe Magnolia (1944) by Paul Nash, official war artist of World War I and World War II. In this context, the painting’s flower motif comes to represent the unfolding parachutes used by airborne regiments or artillery explosions. Nashashibi /Skaer’s film develops this reference with a series of enigmatic associations that form the thread running through Our Magnolia. A shot of the halfvisible skeletal shape of a decomposing whale buried on a deserted beach echoes a drawing of a whale skeleton with the title Death, which is part of Leonora (2006), a work by Lucy Skaer also in the Hunterian collection. The images in the film are often as seductive as they are threatening, carrying the suggestion of impending disaster. At the end of the film, the soundtrack erupts from total silence with the anguished reaction of a woman to the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This acquisition was supported by the recently established Hunterian Friends organisation, and it is their first in the field of contemporary art.

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, with the support of Hunterian Friends, 2015


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