Haunted Haus

Oct 21 - Dec 20 2020

Alfatih Haunted Haus Swiss Institute

Including works by Melanie Akeret, Alfatih, James Bantone, Miriam Cahn, Maïté Chénière, Victoria Colmegna, Jesse Darling, Olivia Erlanger, Gabriele Garavaglia, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Morag Keil, Milena Langer, Claire van Lubeek, Win McCarthy, Ivan Mitrovic, Alan Schmalz, Cassidy Toner, Gaia Vincensini, Andro Wekua

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What is anachronistic about the ghost story is its peculiarly contingent and constitutive dependence of physical place and, in particular, on the material house as such. –Frederic Jameson, “Historicism in The Shining

SI is pleased to present Haunted Haus – a spectral space where bodies, images, sounds and smells fester and mingle. The group exhibition features works by 20 artists that reflect on the spirits we project into the world, the forces that insist without existing, and the anachronism and experience of haunting.

Haunted Haus draws on the concept of hauntology [1], which has inspired various writers and thinkers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including Mark Fisher, who described it in his 2012 essay “What is Hauntology?” as a haunting by lost futures that failed to happen. Haunting, Fisher writes, “happens when a place is stained by time, or when a particular place becomes the site for an encounter with broken time.” Such residues are explored in this exhibition, as they cling to and animate spaces and things.

Unfolding and expanding over the show’s duration, Haunted Haus will be installed across three floors of SI. One gallery is recast as an eerie domestic setting beset with flamboyant demons, paintings that laugh, and a melody that emanates from the abyss. Another explores the architecture of houses themselves, the stages on which the spectacles of our memories play, sticky with the remnants of history. The Ground Level gallery will open with additional works on November 5.

Haunted Haus is made possible in part through the SI Annual Exhibition Fund. SI wishes to thank the lenders to the exhibition: Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London; Bel Ami, Los Angeles; Chapter NY; Gaudel de Stampa, Paris; Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; Anne and Arthur Goldstein; International Flavors and Fragrances; and Galerie Philippzollinger. SI additionally wishes to thank Margaux Bosquillon de Jenlis, Penelope Bigelow, Jocelyn Wolff and Sandrine Djerouet.

1 Hauntology, a word with phonic similarity to “ontology,” is a term first coined by Jacques Derrida in lectures given at the symposium “Whither Marxism” at UC Riverside in 1993, later published as Spectres of Marx (1993). There, he discusses the particular ways that the “spectre of Communism,” mentioned by Marx in the opening lines of The Communist Manifesto, would continue to haunt the world after “the End of History” (Francis Fukuyama, 1992). The concept found new resonance in the 2010s, particularly through the work of the British writer and critic Mark Fisher (1968-2017).

Image: Alfatih, still from Bootleg Oracle, 2020.