Shahryar Nashat

Plaque (Slab)

2 February 2009 - 19 April 2009

Plaque (Slab), is a video work by Shahryar Nashat, and the third film to be shown in the intimate cinema temporarily located on the Ground Floor of BALTIC.  The 6 minute 40 second video is devoted to the celebrated Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. Incorporating original recordings by Gould, remixed by Nashat, it also visually captures Gould’s live performance. In the 1964 TV recording, the pianist plays on a stage set with three imposing faux marble monuments. Within this final edit Glenn Gould appears in a short sequence of jaunty stop action animation. However Plaque mostly documents the manufacture of a concrete slab in a Berlin factory.

The scale and form of the giant monolith slabs are reminiscent of those used in the 1964 film. The confrontation of these archive images with footage of the industrial production of a concrete slab raises the question of the role of the performer-interpreter.

Swiss artist Nashat was born in Geneva in 1975. He lives and works in Berlin. His work is rooted in the conflict that a change of culture can stimulate and accelerate; in the confusion of the individual in times of social, religious and cultural discomfort. Nashat’s vision captures these unexplained tensions not through written or spoken language but instead using gestures to express the unease of incomprehension and a materialisation of anxieties. In respect to this exhibition Dominic Eichler concludes: “Wordless Plaque suggests that meaning is a construction site where it is maybe better to peer into the wet concrete than worship at the monolith.”

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