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CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts opens City of Disappearances

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents City of Disappearances an exhibition on view September 10–December 14.

Enrique Metinides, Untitled p 64, 1990. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection.
Enrique Metinides, Untitled p 64, 1990. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection.

The exhibition City of Disappearances is a curatorial collaboration and exchange between two internationally significant art collections: the Kadist Art Foundation (located in San Francisco and Paris) and Zabludowicz Collection (located in London, New York, and Sarvisalo, Finland).

Co-curated by Joseph Del Pesco (Director of the Kadist Art Foundation) and Elizabeth Nielsen (Director of Zabludowicz Collection), the exhibition explores the physical and spatial experience of the city as a kind of language spoken around the world—a language of skyscrapers, traffic, human density, technology, affluence, poverty, and noise. Since 2007, the majority of the world’s population has been urban, making it increasingly urgent for us to think about what “the city” means. Whether we choose to view cities as formed by their inhabitants or the inhabitants as formed by the cities in which they live, the city remains a primary dilemma.

Included in the exhibition is Berlin Remake (2005) by the New York–based artist Amie Siegel, a two-channel work that juxtaposes preexisting films of Berlin with contemporary footage of the same locations, presenting a ghostly portrait of a city that has been a prominent protagonist in world conflict. An installation of 32 photographs by Enrique Metinides shows the gruesome and unexpected fates of citizens of Mexico City between 1949 and 1995. And a newly configured sculptural installation by the Scottish artist Martin Boyce captures anxieties related to overproduction and elitism through juxtapositions of high- and low-culture design elements. The other featured artists are Michel Auder, Slater Bradley, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, John Menick, Yelena Popova, and Kelley Walker.

City of Disappearances dramatizes the mutual resemblance of the world’s great cities by borrowing the title of Iain Sinclair’s psycho-geographic “anthology of absence,” London: City of Disappearances (2006), a book Sinclair says is written “by and about” London. The exhibition imagines a transposition and exchange of the living imaginary of London conjured in Sinclair’s book with the fictions and myths of San Francisco. This conceptual and metaphorical exchange will be followed by a real one, when the exhibition travels to Zabludowicz Collection in London, February 27 to May 11, 2014. There it will be renamed Infinite City, after Rebecca Solnit’s atlas of San Francisco.

Accompanying public programs will take place over the course of the exhibition. Please check for a schedule.

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
California College of the Arts
360 Kansas Street
San Francisco CA 94103
T 415 355 9673