Dreamtime™ | Artist Talk with Jane and Louise Wilson

by Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts & Culture Initiative

Lecture Art Exhibit

Mon, Feb 6, 2023

12 PM – 1:30 PM PST (GMT-8)

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Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) Colloquial Room, 3201

712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, CA 92617, United States

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Jane and Louise Wilson will present on their installations in CAC Gallery.

Dreamtime™ Exhibit Narrative:
The Cold War is dead. Long live the Cold War.

If the year 1989—the demarcation at the end of a divided Europe between the Western and Russian influence—is the horizon or hinge between the political era of the Cold War 1970s and the post-political era of the neoliberal 20th and 21st centuries, then the work of Jane and Louise Wilson is the aesthetic through-line.

For Western identified globalists, the so-called “post-political” world was shored up by the “end of history” myth, ushered in by the presumed end of communism and the inevitable victory of both liberal democracy and capitalism. This was most famously proffered by Francis Fukuyama, who, in 1989, claimed: “The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident…in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism.” Timothy Snyder, in his more recent book The Road to Unfreedom: Russian, Europe, America, calls this the politics of inevitability, “a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done.” Even so, a repressed Cold War reality is currently returning to collective consciousness, with a vengeance.

Dreamtime™ returns to history as an “aesthetic proposition” within the political and post-political eras, from the 1960s to the present. The exhibition includes works that examine how political and technological power are manifested through architecture. The four-channel installation Stasi City (1997) draws from the abandoned headquarters of the defunct East German secret police (Staatssicherheit)—unofficially called Stasi City—a few years after the reunification of Germany. Alongside, the installation Dream Time (2001) documents the launch of the 2001 International Space Rocket at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest space-launch center.

Jane and Louise Wilson (b. 1967 Great Britain, based in London) are artists whose work uses film, photography, performance, sound, and sculpture to create installations that expand cinema and investigate the darker side of the human experience. The Wilson sisters began working together in 1989, and have since exhibited internationally in solo and group contexts. Their work is part of several collections including the Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London, UK; and more.

Generous support of this exhibition is provided by the C. Christine Nichols Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Abilene and Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts & Culture Initiative.


Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) Colloquial Room, 3201

712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, CA 92617, United States

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