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BL CK B X: Mary Helena Clark

Wed 16 May - Sat 9 Jun 2018 / Wed - Sat, 12pm - 5pm

LUX, Waterlow Park Centre

Opening Event: Friday 18 May 6pm-8pm

LUX is delighted to present the first UK solo exhibition by American artist Mary Helena Clark, who will show a new moving image work, The Glass Note, in the context of LUX’s BL CK B X series.

For her exhibition at LUX, Clark has produced a new single-channel piece which draws on the material of her exhibition Ligature at DOCUMENT in Chicago earlier in the year and which questions the relationship between bodies (both animate and inanimate) and sounds, between touching and hearing, between sound and the haptic – problematizing the notion of the body as an instrument and that of the object as a fetish. For Clark, who is interested in redrawing the line of animancy, the body is a vessel, both literally and figuratively. Rocks are presented as a beautiful and terrifying phenomenon. Clark is particularly drawn to rocks that make sounds, rocks that sing with the wind, or that resonate like a bell when struck with a hammer such as those in Ringing Rocks, Pennsylvania in the central segment of the film. Conceived for the intimate space of the gallery “black box”, The Glass Note is a visceral work that heightens the senses.

The Glass Note re-contextualizes seemingly unconnected elements – fragmented bodies, statuary, a beach marred by a storm, a virtual ocean, the phenomena of lithophonic stones, empty bear cages at an abandoned zoo, a chair that served as a hearing aid – to understand the body’s permeability and to extend the sensorial beyond the corporeal. Playing with notions of “thrown voice” and the untrustworthy image, sound and image commingle, animate, and touch each other, exploring cinema’s inherent ventriloquism. 

The text that runs through the video references Ann Desclos’ Story of O, a blog post on statue burnishing etiquette, and a poetic description of an encounter with King Joao VI’s acoustic throne.” (Mary Helena Clark)

Mary Helena Clark is an artist working in film, video, and installation. Her work uses the language of collage to explore dissociative states through cinema, bringing together disparate subjects and styles that suggest an exterior logic or code. Using the transportive qualities of cinema – rhyming sound and image, the constructed spaces of montage – her films explore shifting subjectivities and the limits of the embodied camera. Clark makes enigmatic, associative, oneiric films that propose cinema as both a trance-like and transparent experience. As Federico Windhausen has pointed out, her films “convey an itinerant, searching quality, while also being grounded in the representation of particular places”. Clark’s films demand to be listened to with as much attention as they are seen; sound in fact often provides both an anchoring point and a clue, suggesting states of connectedness and detachment

Related Events

Opening Event
Friday 18 May / 6pm-8pm
To launch the exhibition, Mary Helena Clark, will screen a selection of her short films, followed by a conversation with George Clark.
More details here

Breakfast Opening
Wednesday 6 June / 9am-10.30am
Drop-in, and enjoy a free breakfast at LUX, for a chance to meet our staff and view the exhibition.

Film still, The Glass Note, Mary Helena Clark, 2018. Courtesy the artist.


Mary Helena Clark

Mary Helena Clark lives and works in New York, USA. Her work has recently been exhibited at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany, JOAN, Los Angeles, Kadist, San Francisco, the 2017 Whitney Biennial, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finland, e- flux, New York, NY, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, UK, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, and at festivals including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.