Alum Trevor Paglen in Artes Mundi

03 Dec, 2018

Alum Trevor Paglen in Artes Mundi

In its eighth iteration, Artes Mundi brought five international contemporary artists to partake in a visual art exhibition in Wales. Among them was BCNM alum Trevor Paglen, lauded for his projects involving the intersection fo surveillance, journalism and photography.

Paglen is presenting two of his seminal works. Limit Telephotography is a series of photographs of restricted areas such as military bases, while The Other Night Sky focuses on documenting military satellites in the Earth's orbit.

Jonathan Jones from The Guardian writes of Paglen's series:

"These are photographs of a state of mind. I am not saying they don’t show what they claim to show. Their power as art, however, comes from the fact that they might not. Paglen really does surf the data universe in a project to spy on the spies. Yet his art is as much about his obsession as it about anything the quest exposes. In another series he aims his telescopic lens at secret bases in the American desert. A man talks into his phone as he descends from a jet on who knows what covert business. A spy plane waits on a runway. Blurred, low-lying military buildings shimmer in the heat. Yet I can’t help visualising the artist, hidden among rocks, focusing his camera on the secret state. A man with a monomaniacal mission. Paglen’s art is the latest in a long line of American reflections on the poetry of paranoia, from films such as The Parallax View and The Conversation to the novels of Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon. He stares into the heart of America at this moment, beset by rage and terror."

Artes Mundi is the United Kingdom's largest contemporary art prize and is open now until February 2019. Paglen is joined by Anna Boghiguian, Bouchra Khalili, Otobong Nkanga and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. On January 24, 2019, one of the artists will be awarded the 40,000 GBP Artes Mundi 8 Prize.

Read the rest of the Artes Mundi 8 review from The Guardian here.

View the gallery of work at the exhibit here.