Exhibition
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RUTH BUCHANAN
Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen

September 19 — December 13, 2015

Language constitutes a powerful system of organization; it is where causality, order, and hierarchy are established and actualized. Access is enabled or denied. Language is a system the subject actively employs as a tool, while at the same time it is determined by its structure. Spoken language has rhythm, sound, volume, it moves through rooms on sound waves that enable its corporeal perception. Language becomes inscribed into the subject and it constitutes its subject by writing it – it performs actions and creates precedents.

Ruth Buchanan explores in performances, installations, sculptures, publications and films – which often include language as material – the conditions under which the processing of cultural production takes place, questioning the implicit agreements of the handling, organization, and presentation of such material and its respective formats. In her current cycle of work, presented here at the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof and produced in co-operation with the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe and the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane she has addressed contexts that include a public institutions' archive, a private companies' storage facility, a semi-public library. Through her process of research and production she continuously replaces, shifts, and recontextualizes their terms and parameters in both her associative linguistic gestures – reminiscent of concrete poetry – and her sculptural work. The systems of order she shows us break established norms and generate alternate constellations. These new connections change their object's status and meaning: its unrealized potential becomes apparent, as does languages' power to define.

Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen focuses on the auditory and is made up of three sound works and an appendix combined with graphic, sculptural, and performative elements. Buchanan's linguistic operations are condensed text-based variations of the previously presented constituent parts of this cycle of work: a performance, an exhibition, and a film. Here we find the auditory echo of these works, an epilogue. All three works depart from a current or historical event where encounters between the body and the apparatus – in the sense of a structure organizing material in a particular way – takes place. The appendix presents a selection of research material associated with these instances. Beyond such exemplary cases, Buchanan explores the examination of subject and system by language, where language itself constitutes a contested field of interaction between the two.

On the occasion of the exhibition, an artist’s record will be released as part of the series Kv.H.Bf. produces in collaboration with Volker Zander’s label Apparent Extent. The record release on October 28, 2015 will be accompanied by a reading by Ruth Buchanan.

Ruth Buchanan (b. 1980 in New Plymouth, New Zealand) lives and works in Berlin. She has had solo exhibitions at, amongst others, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2015); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2014); Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland (2014); Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2011); Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht (2010); The Showroom, London (2009). She has staged performances at numerous locations including IMA, Brisbane (2015); Tate Modern, London (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2010).



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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, exhibition view, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015. 

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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, exhibition view, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015.  

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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, Appendix, 7 audio stations with audio on speakers, information cards, customised table, dimensions variable, 2015, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015, Photo: Ruth Buchanan.  

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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, Detail: Or, a building, 2015, powder coated steel, audio on speakers, 18’13“, coated table, chairs, dimensions variable, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015.  

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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, Detail:
Or, a building, 2015, powder coated steel, audio on speakers, 18’13“, coated table, chairs, dimensions variable, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015.
 

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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, Detail: Or, a camera, 2015, performer, live audio, handheld tablet with video, printed poster, coated ramp, geo-mesh outdoor wind resistant banner, dimensions variable, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015.

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Ruth Buchanan, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, Detail: Or, a camera, 2015, performer, live audio, handheld tablet with video, printed poster, coated ramp, geo-mesh outdoor wind resistant banner, dimensions variable, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2015.