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White Against Red
Anne Ferran's new exhibition White Against Red originated during a residency on Suomenlinna, Finland, a fortified island with a history of military conflict. The formats chosen for two elements of the exhibition - large-scale banners and wall-mounted plates - are those used to officially commemorate and memorialise events. By contrast, a third component of the exhibition makes direct reference to a suppressed episode of the island's past and is only accessible via a private viewing.
In the artwork White Against Red, Ferran collaborated with Finnish dancer and choreographer Ervi Siren to produce a series of large-scale digital prints on canvas. These banners continue the artist's practice of photographing female performers as they improvise with lengths of coloured felt. This collaboration evolved in ways not expected by Ferran at the outset, as the performance of Siren, a dancer then her 60s, allowed for complex and nuanced interpretations. The accompanying series of plates, Red Against White, is a re-interpretation of the photographs of Siren into bold and minimal forms. This series was inspired by a small group of porcelain plates Ferran encountered at the Hermitage Museum.
Open Book unites photographs of the dancer with photographic details from archival images of prison camps once located on Suomenlinna. This format offers the opportunity to view multiple images at once, revealing sympathetic resonances that occur between the bodies photographed a century ago and the dancer's performing body.