The World Is Gone, I Must Carry You

2 sep 1 nov 2020

Bonniers Konsthall is proud to present the exhibition The World Is Gone, I Must Carry You by French-born, New-York based curator Mathilde Walker-Billaud, winner of BKH curator award 2019. Through film, audio and drawing, the exhibition explores ways of transmitting and sounding vulnerable worlds. BKH curator award is a prize that seeks to encourage new endeavors in the field of curating.

Curator’s text

At the end of his poem Vast, Glowing Vault (1967), Paul Celan, a Romanian-German writer and Holocaust survivor, writes:

— The world is gone, I must carry you.

Incapable to secure and hold the real as it is, the poet supports its existence by acting as a transmitter, by calling for the future.

Through film, audio and drawing, the exhibition The World Is Gone, I Must Carry You explores ways of transmitting and sounding vulnerable worlds.

Two key artworks in the exhibition are Susan Hiller’s The Last Silent Film (2008) and Lost and Found (2016), which combine excerpts of ethnographic recordings of rare languages. Amplifying speeches that have been forgotten in the archives of European linguists and anthropologists, her sound-driven works act as platforms for speakers of non-dominant languages.

Following Hiller’s feminist and anti-colonial critique of scientific culture, Sky Hopinka, Bethan Huws, Gala Porras-Kim and Krista Belle Stewart use audio technology and acts of transcription to challenge abstract and static representations of linguistic minorities.

Porras-Kim produces epistemological tools that render the significance of whistling in the Zapotec language in Mexico. Hopinka makes multilayered films that transcribe lived experiences of the Chinuk Wawa and Ho-Chunk languages in North America. Huws brings the Bulgarian Bistritsa Babi vocal ensemble into a foreign land, the shore of the North Sea, to amplify the dissonant presence of the Welsh community in England. As for Stewart, she reclaims the anthropological recording of her great-grandmother as a personal archive recalling the repressed voice of her ancestor singing in Syilx (Okanagan).

Privileging the sonic over the visual, focusing on the act of transmission rather than preservation, the exhibition will map an itinerary going through imaginary and alternative representations of voices. The Gallery 1 will host a series of soundscapes where foreign and glossolalic tongues are translated and embodied into physical, material and media-based environments.

Curator: Mathilde Walker-Billaud

Artists include

  • Bethan Huws
  • Gala Porras-Kim
  • Krista Bell Stewart
  • Sky Hopinka
  • Susan Hiller

About BKH Curator Award

Bonniers Konsthall is proud to announce its first BKH Curator Award. Recognizing a need for new voices and an absence of opportunities, Bonniers Konsthall wishes to become a place for beginnings. Following decades of engagement with emerging artistic practices the award seeks to encourage new endeavors in the field of curating in the hopes of facilitating new trajectories.

Winner of BKH Curator Award 2019 is Mathilde Walker-Billaud with the exhibition The World Is Gone, I Must Carry You. Mathilde Walker-Billaud, originally from France, is now based in New York, where she recently graduated from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. The other three finalists 2019 were Eliel Jones, Liudmila Kirsanova and Sophie Rose. The jury included Elena Filipovic, Omar Kholeif and Magnus af Petersens.

From the jury’s statement:

“The jury felt that Mathilde Walker-Billaud’s proposal laid out an exhibition that promises to be visually compelling, thoroughly researched, and to respond to some of the key urgencies of our time. Specifically, the nature in which technologies reveal and conceal themselves, as well as the mechanisms by which art is able to represent a future possible reality. And this through a close examination of the politics of language and how the extinction of languages are a larger metaphor for loss, cultural effacement, and dealing with otherness. Walker-Billaud brings into conversation artists from across generations, here the iconic figures of our time are newly put into conversation with emerging voices who are shaping the canon of visuality for tomorrow.”

BKH Curator Award 2019 is generously supported by ELJEST.