press release

This autumn we present four solo exhibitions, each featuring new commissions. The four artists use performance, theatre and film. For them, fiction and alternative realities become ways of transforming and extending our understanding of identity, social norms and world history.

The idea for the season developed out of conversations with Collabor-8 Collective, Nottingham Contemporary’s young people’s group, and was curated to coincide with Circuit, our arts festival for 15 to 25 years olds in November.

Sun Ra (1914-1993): The Cosmo Man
This is the first exhibition in the UK devoted to the work of Sun Ra, the legendary jazz musician and Afro-Futurist. It aims to present him as a “total artist”. Besides his compositions, recordings and concerts, Sun Ra was a writer, philosopher and poet. He also designed his Arkestra’s record covers and publicity, and conceived and starred in a feature film, Space Is the Place (1974). Sun Ra took the name of the Egyptian sun god and claimed to have come from Saturn. The exhibition is designed by leading French scenographer Nadia Lauro.

Rana Hamadeh: The Fugitive Image
Rana Hamadeh presents The Fugitive Image, the latest chapter of her long-term project Alien Encounters, for this, her first solo exhibition in the UK. The original impetus for her Alien Encounters series was Sun Ra’s film Space Is the Place. Her sculptural installations, exhibitions, and lecture-performances explore the idea of being alien as a way to address urgent issues in the Arab and wider world today. Hamadeh revisits the story of the infamous serial killer sisters Raya and Sakina, the first women to be sentenced to death by a legal court in the modern history of Egypt.

Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz: In Memoriam to Identity
Collaborators Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz excavate forgotten “queer” moments by revisiting films and photographic imagery. Their complex and playful works unsettle traditional historical narratives and propose possible queer futures. In their latest film, I Want, Sharon Hayes, the American artist, replays a performance by Kathy Acker, the late experimental novelist, punk poet and feminist.

Danai Anesiadou: "Don’t commit suicide just because you are afraid of death"
Working across performance, installation and video, Anesiadou plays with rumour, fantasy, the mystical, and the intimacy of sharing secrets. For her first UK solo exhibition, Anesiadou layers allusions to classical myths from her native Greece, pop culture and contemporary politics together with references to her personal biography and every day experiences. Her exhibition includes sculptures from compressed personal objects, and a monumental wall installation which she imagines as a “horror-vacui” of theatrical and movie props. Anesidaou has also created a new performance that will be presented on 11 December.