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Zarina Bhimji Whitechapel 2012

Solo show at Whitechapel Art Gallery. 2012
Date: 19 March, 2012 until 9 March, 2012
Curator: Achim Borchardt-Hume and Kathleen Bühler
Organiser: Whitechapel Gallery in collaboration with Kunstmuseum Bern

Major mid-career retrospective of work by Zarina Bhimji, organised by Whitechapel Gallery in collaboration with Kunstmuseum Bern. The exhibition opened at Whitechapel Gallery, its dates being 19 January - 9 March 2012. It then toured to Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, its dates there being 1 June - 2 September 2012. The Whitechapel Gallery exhibition largely coincided with another exhibition by Zarina Bhimji, Zarina Bhimji: Yellow Patch, 20 January - 14 April 2012, and the accompanying publication reflected input from all three venues.

The exhibition brought together key photographic series and film installations made by Bhimji over the course of a quarter of a century.

From the Foreword, written by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, Dr. Matthias Frehner, Director, Kunstmuseum Bern, and Stephen Snoddy, Director, the New Art Gallery Walsall:

“Architecture and landscape are the protagonists in the quiet yet profound dramas that unfold through Zarina Bhimji’s films and photographs. A building might feature in her work as a historic monument; as a composition of texture and colour; or as an atmospheric play of darkness and light. As our eyes explore the surface of her remarkable images, however, we can also see the unmistakable traces of incarceration, death or exodus, but inflected with deliberate ambiguity and transience.

Like many artists and writers who have experienced exile, Bhimji combines her subjective experience with a detached perspective on the flows and convulsions of history. Born in Uganda into a family of Indian descent, she left Africa for Britain in 1974. As a result, her framework of reference is unusually wide, encompassing three different continents, and reaches back to the British empire and the migration that followed in its wake as much as to a postcolonial present.

Bhimji’s ravishingly beautiful and painterly panoramic shots of different landscapes, and her close-ups of buildings worked over by time, are the result of a process of poetic distillation where place (in this case East Africa and South Asia) becomes the material itself, and new ways of seeing can emerge. She captures the decay of abandoned structures of power as they surrender to the forces of entropy. Bhimji’s cinematic vistas are complemented by a soundscape of news broadcasts, ambient sound and music that creates a second layer of narrative. Sound and picture combine to transform image into metaphor, politics into poetry. This book marks not only the world premiere of Bhimji’s latest film installation, Yellow Patch, (2011) but also presents the first major overview of her 25 year-long career. Aside from Yellow Patch and the critically acclaimed Out of Blue (2002) it also includes a wide selection of the celebrated photographs which preceded and continue to inform her moving-image works.”

Related items

click to show details of Zarina Bhimji - Whitechapel Gallery catalogue 2012

»  Zarina Bhimji - Whitechapel Gallery catalogue 2012

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2012

People in this exhibition

»  Zarina Bhimji

Born, 1963 in Mbarara, Uganda

Exhibition venues

»  Whitechapel Art Gallery

London, United Kingdom