Transparent Things

Edited by Natasha Hoare

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art


Page count:
Published on:

The texts in this publication have been assembled in response to an exhibition based on a literary fragment; Chapter 1 of the novel Transparent Things (1972) by Vladimir Nabokov. They complete a circle between text and exhibition in a loop that is fittingly Nabokovian. Experimental in form, each takes up the novel’s description of objects as anchoring unstable memories, containing the history of their production, and as surfaces for our obsessive projections.

Kashif Sharma-Patel’s text not yet / that’s just me is split into two parts. The first is a theoretical response to the framing of the Transparent Things exhibition, while the second is fictional and emanates from the writers’ own position and body. Scattered across the page, the texts spin between South London locale, fragmented memory, and stream of consciousness. Sharma-Patel lands beautiful and heavy blows in a grapple with modernity and identity.

Rosie Haward’s commissioned text Duets, fictionalises an encounter with a dancer who she asks to re-stage two dances: The Chair Dance, directed by Bela Tarr in Sátántangó (1994) and Mein Herr, directed by Bob Fosse in Cabaret (1972). Radically different in style and affect, both feature chairs. Through re-staging, and inserting her own body into these dances, Haward poses questions as to who/what is dependent on whom, troubling the dividing line between object and body and collapsing the space in time between the filmed performance and her own choreography.

Avoiding the Genius (2017) by Jesper List Thomsen, is an existing text that has made its way into sculptures by Marie Lund. In this piece—which is as much a performance as a text—List Thomsen describes a sculpture at Villa Giulia, Palermo, Sicily. Through a strategy of accumulation, he meticulously articulates each related part of several figures, an act that approximates sculpting to writing. As the text builds, a palpable tension emerges between the animus that its recitation bestows and the impenetrable surface of the sculpture.

Edited by Natasha Hoare, Curator, Goldsmiths CCA

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art is London’s newest contemporary arts institution, and open to everyone. Hosting world-class exhibitions by international artists, and providing a space for established and emergent practices, the institution aims to enhance Goldsmiths’ reputation for excellence and innovation in the arts. Curatorially ambitious, the exhibition programme has been devised to encompass a wide-range of exhibition-making, including new commissions, historical presentations, survey exhibitions, and long-term research projects.