bureau inc

Ellie Ga
Art Basel

June 19 – 22 2014
VIP days June 17 + 18 2014


Ellie Ga, Measuring the Circle, 2013-14, (video still)

“For all our anxiety about the future, maybe the future is simply a light you can see in the distance. So I jump off the boat, diving deeper and deeper to the origin of the word lighthouse – il faro, le phare, el faro ­– as it lies at the bottom of the sea in the harbor of Alexandria” – Ellie Ga, ‘Reading the Deck of Tara (from Pharos Island)'

For Art Basel Statements, Bureau is proud to present a solo presentation by Ellie Ga, centered on her new video, ‘Measuring the Circle’. This single channel, split-screen video unfolds with a narrative about the Pharos Lighthouse whose sunken marble remains lie in the harbor in Alexandria Egypt. The artist's initial interest in the Pharos stems from The Fortunetellers, Ga's immersive project based on her time on board the Tara, a research vessel locked in the pack ice of the North Pole. The lighthouse became the central metaphor for her and the crew members' uncertain future. The artist discovered that the word for lighthouse in romance languages is taken after Pharos, the island where the first lighthouse, built in the 3rd century BC, once stood.

Combining narrative genres such as the essay and travelogue, Gaʼs work explores the limits of photographic documentation. Her projects are research intensive and often center on the artist's role as interpreter within historical frameworks. ‘Measuring the Circle’ follows Ga’s signature style of an immersive, braided narrative, with a story that brings the viewer on a fascinating journey weaving history, mathematics, aesthetics and politics.

In 2012 Ga traveled to Alexandria to study marine archaeology and began a drift of research across the modern city, into its archives and libraries and among its underwater remains. Her narratives draw upon an archive of photographs, video footage, documents, objects and interviews - and describes the journey of an artist lost in the process of research. ‘Measuring the Circle’ focuses on the geometry of the ancient building, looking at differing accounts both ancient and contemporary. As the narrative plays out on the left hand letterbox screen, the square screen shows the artist’s hand, laying transparent images within an ancient, geometric game called the Stomachion. The layered Stomachion images both in the video and in drawings and photographs echo and punctuate the structured meander of Ga’s narrative.

Ellie Ga (b. 1976, New York, lives and works in London) has been exhibited internationally, most recently at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO and New Museum, New York. She has presented performance works at The Playground Festival, Leuven, Belgium; The Kitchen, New York; Le Consortium, Dijon, France; and the Fondation Cartier, Paris, France. She is currently developing a new performance Eureka, a lighthouse play with The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) which will be presented in October of 2014. She is the subject of a one-person exhibition at M-Museum Leuven in November 2014 where she will also perform Eureka as part of the Playground Festival.


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