Untitled Video Still from Lost in Space (After Huck), 2017; Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Shimon Attie.

Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow Lecture: Shimon Attie

March 31, 2017
Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Dr.

Shimon Attie, the 2016-17 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow, will deliver a public lecture in conjunction with the opening of his Currents series exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The lecture is free, but tickets are required. Tickets may be obtained at the museum or through Metrotix (which charges a service fee).

In Currents 113: Lost in Space (After Huck), Attie draws inspiration from St. Louis' location on the Mississippi River. He has created an immersive multimedia environment that echoes one of the river's most iconic stories: the journey of Huckleberry Finn and Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi on a raft as told in Mark Twain's 1884 novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the center of the room, a sculpture of a raft sits surrounded by projections of clusters of light, giving the impression that the raft is floating in a celestial space.

Objects on the raft, a corn-cob pipe, knife, bindle bag, and three sticks secured at the top, evoke a bygone era. A more contemporary police light, glowing red, is also placed on the raft. Overlapping real and imaginary worlds, Attie's installation creates a symbolic space where meanings from the past can be examined alongside important socio-political issues of the present.

The 113th installment of Currents is curated by Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, with Molly Moog, research assistant. Attie's video, The Crossing, will be on view concurrently as part of the Saint Louis Art Museum's New Media Series.

About the Artist

Attie's artistic practice includes creating site-specific installations in public places, accompanying art photographs, immersive multichannel HD video installations for museums and galleries, and new media works.

For two decades, Attie has made art that allows us to reflect on the relationship between place, memory, and identity. In many of his projects, he engages local communities in finding new ways of representing their history, memory, and potential futures, and explores how contemporary media may be used to reimagine new relationships between space, time, place, and identity. He is particularly concerned with issues of loss, communal trauma, and the potential for regeneration.

In earlier works, Attie has used contemporary media to re-animate architectural and public sites with images of their lost histories, and how histories of marginalized and forgotten communities may be visually introduced into the physical landscape of the present. These works ranged from on-location slide projections in Berlin's former Jewish quarter, to underwater light boxes in Copenhagen's Borsgraven Canal, to sophisticated laser projections illuminating the immigrant experience on tenement buildings on New York's Lower East Side.

In more recent years, Attie has created a number of multichannel immersive HD video installations. These have included a commission by the BBC and the Arts Council of Wales to create a 5-channel video installation on the occasion of the 40-year anniversary since the Aberfan disaster, when the village became "famous" after having lost nearly all of its children in a man-made avalanche that buried Aberan's only elementary school. Attie also created Racing Clocks Run Slow: Archaeology of a Racetrack, a piece inspired by the former Bridgehampton Auto Racetrack in Bridgehampton, Long Island. He has also recently completed a commission from San Francisco's de Young Museum to create a new work of art. The result was a 3-channel video installation, Sightings: The Ecology of an Art Museum, which deals with the heightened moment of mutual encounter between art viewer and art object. And in 2011, Attie created MetroPAL.IS., an 8-channel video installation in-the-round for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum that involves members of the Israeli and Palestinian communities living in New York City. Following its exhibition at the Aldrich Museum, MetroPAL.IS. traveled to the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Attie's work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world, including at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the Miami Art Museum, among many others. A mid-career retrospective was organized by Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.