The Museum is pleased to present the North American premiere of the video installation Liminals by Jeremy Shaw; a Vancouver artist who lives and works in Berlin. This immersive, multi-sensory experience is made possible for our visitors thanks to a generous loan from the Canadian collector Bruce Bailey.
A rich work, Liminals at first appears to be a black and white 16 mm documentary shot sometime in the 1970s. But we are quickly informed by a BBC-like narrator of a story set three generations from now, when humanity is on the verge of extinction. The video follows eight subjects who are attempting to escape this fate and save humanity through a fantastic combination of Machine DNA brain augmentations and the engagement in long-abandoned spiritual rituals.
Through this behaviour, they believe it will be possible to access a space in between the physical and the virtual – The Liminal – where humans can move towards a higher stage of evolution. As the subjects engage in a series of increasingly cathartic actions, from Kundalini to headbanging, the video evolves from its vérité aesthetic to something caught in between a ritual documentary, music video and utopian science fiction film. At the dramatic climax, an unexpected shift from black and white to psychedelic technicolour occurs, and we witness the dancers transform from analogue to digital, effectively accessing and becoming The Liminal.
Jeremy Shaw works in a variety of media to explore altered states of consciousness and the cultural and scientific practices that aspire to map transcendental experience. Often combining and amplifying strategies of vérité filmmaking, conceptual art, music video and esoteric and scientific research, he creates a post-documentary space in which disparate belief systems and histories are thrown into an interpretive limbo.
In 2016, Shaw won the prestigious Sobey Art Award and, more recently, he was awarded a residency at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. He has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York, Schinkel Pavillon, Germany, and MOCA, Toronto, Canada. This fall, he is screening his Quantification Trilogy at the Tate Modern in London, UK. Works by Jeremy Shaw are held in public collections worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Pompidou, France, and the National Gallery of Canada.