Friday, July 17 through Saturday, August 28, 2021
Aftermaths is a group exhibition featuring artists who point to the bludgeoning effects of Western imperialism on the world, and the cultural phenomena that linger long after its initial encounters. Focusing largely on different approaches to archives of photography and film, the exhibition explores homologous aesthetic tactics employed by artists with attachments to Latin America and the Arab world. Invested in postcolonial politics and ongoing struggles for liberation, the projects by Astro Escudero (Chicago, IL), Rami George (Philadelphia, PA), Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez (Minneapolis, MN), and Sanaz Sohrabi (Montreal/Chicago, IL) help us understand how images have been used both to suppress and to bolster people’s freedom and autonomy.
The visual regimes of photography and film have long been accomplices to imperialist enterprises and state sanctioned-violence in rewriting the terms and tellings of history itself. Images, still or moving, instruct us as much as they help us remember, and it is in this duality that histories of dissent and oppression can be read simultaneously. Curated by Jameson Paige (Philadelphia, PA), Aftermaths seeks to identify the ambiguity and elusiveness of history’s record, honoring that different archives present often conflicting orientations to history, and that these conflicts can be charted across the archival dichotomies of intimate and official; image and material; memory and record. The included artist projects, many of which are ongoing, are rooted in the after effects of specific events in history—for example the Lebanese Civil War, the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, the nationalization of oil in Iran—and explore how the past tumbles into the present causing all types of ripples. Each artist moves through their project’s contexts with specificity, but between them is a threaded interest in how visual regimes play an integral role in shaping history as it happens, and bending it as time goes on.
Astro Escudero directly engages the dichotomy of image and material forms of remembering, using coffee, bedsheets, and textbooks to constellate history, gender, and coloniality in Ecuador. Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez confronts real and fictional tellings of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. His work examines how global politics are scaled to culturally-specific media—such as Hollywood films—mounting skewed and inaccurate restagings of history in the process. Rami George collates family photographs and audio visual narratives that connect varied experiences of the civil war in Lebanon, compressing them into a fragmented whole. Their approach materializes memory’s inability to be linear and how cultural inheritance is strained across geographical and temporal distance. Sanaz Sohrabi traces the complex socio-cultural shifts caused by Western oil extraction in the Middle East and the similar trajectories of other petro-states across the world. Her project poetically intertwines narratives of political independence, raw material sovereignty, coloniality, and revolution, all to make clear that futurity is a series of starts and stops, and looks extraordinarily different depending on who has drawn the schematic.
This project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is from Charlotte Street Foundation. Aftermaths was a program selected through Charlotte Street’s annual Open Call.
Featuring: Astro Escudero, Rami George, Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez, and Sanaz Sohrabi
Aftermaths Pre-Show Talk
Friday, July 30th at 5:00 PM at CSF Gallery (3333 Wyoming)
Join curator Jameson Paige and artists featured in the exhibition in casual conversation about their work during the Aftermaths pre-show where visitors can see the exhibition ahead of the 6:00-9:00 PM opening.
Aftermaths Opening Reception
Friday, July 30th at 6:00-9:00 PM at CSF Gallery (3333 Wyoming)
Aftermaths: Artists in Conversation
Tuesday, August 17th at 6:00 PM CST on ZOOM
Moderated by Chicago-based art historian Daniel Quiles, the artists from the exhibition will engage in a conversation that explores how their projects included in Aftermaths are a part of larger concerns and fit into the whole of their artistic practices.