Celluloid rituals

A pursuit is on. The soundtrack of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead rivals the silhouetted woman’s clicking heels as the camera follows her through the anonymous interior and out on to the streets of London in the double projection work The Prisoner (2008). It is one of the five 16mm films by Rosalind Nashashibi on show at her first major exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. ‘Gathering a group of Nashashibi’s films with her less well-known photographs gives a fuller understanding of her work, demonstrating her fascination with the dynamics of ritual, personae and transformation,’ says Mark Sladen, ICA director of exhibitions and the curator of the show. The exhibition first looks at Nashashibi’s short film works, including Eyeballing (2005), which focuses on everyday aspects of life. The show is supported by a photographic installation, In Rehearsal (2009), set within the context of an operatic soundtrack, and will feature the debut screening of her latest work, Jack Straw’s Castle (2009). This uses footage of a woodland backdrop, interlaced with scenes from real life and theatrical scenarios involving a large cast. Her work has evolved from a documentary to a more cinematic style, but in all of it she explores the use of symbols and signs. Anthropomorphic faces, for example, or glimpses of human figures within architectural compositions, are made explicit through their repetition and rhythm, placing both in the film works, but also within the artist’s collages and photography.

Rosalind Nashashibi runs at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London SW1 from 10 September to 1 November. The exhibition is accompanied by texts from Dieter Roelstraete and Martin Herbert available from the ICA from 16 October

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