Simon Preston Gallery is delighted to present a solo exhibition by Amie Siegel, her first at the gallery, from Sunday 8 September until Sunday 6 October, 2013. Known for an expansive body of work ranging from photographs, sound, video, installations and feature films, Siegel will premiere a multi-part project that tracks backwards the origins and economic movements of cultural objects. Characteristic of the artist's layered approach, the work self-reflexively takes on the behaviors of the system it describes.
The constellation of works circles around the global trade in furniture from the Indian city of Chandigarh. Conceived in the 1950s by architects Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Chandigarh’s controversial modernist architecture includes original pieces of furniture—tables, chairs, settees, desks—created specifically for the building’s interiors. Recently these pieces have appeared at auction houses around the world, commanding record prices.
A film work shown at cinematic scale, Provenance (2013) traces the furniture’s odyssey in reverse. Starting with the Chandigarh furniture in the present, the film begins in New York apartments, London townhouses, Belgian villas and Paris salons of avid collectors. From there, it moves backwards to the furniture’s sale at auction, preview exhibitions, and photography for auction catalogues, to restoration, cargo shipping containers, and Indian ports — ending finally in Chandigarh, a city in a state of entropy.
Siegel juxtaposes contemplative tracking shots, precise framing and recurrent tableaux to enact a subtly discursive cinematic space. Without interviews, actors or voice-over, the film is
a slow reveal, peeling back time to make visible the furniture’s movement around the globe. In Siegel’s prior work, the simultaneity of past and present creates an uncanny doubling, whereas in Provenance it is the rigorous timeline — with its silent objects as protagonists — that enacts this sense of displacement. An accumulative montage, the film exposes the circuits of ownership and history that influence the furniture's fluctuating value.
Also on view is Circuit (2013), a looped 360-degree tracking shot of the "Evolution of Life" exhibition in Chandigarh's Natural History Museum. Following the display of planetary evolution in the cyclorama’s round architecture, Siegel’s video mirrors the reverse timeline of Provenance. Together, the ensemble of works oscillates between macro and microcosmic scales in its examination of the unfolding life and economy of objects.
On October 19, Siegel will auction Provenance in the Post-War & Contemporary art sale at Christie’s London. This gesture turns Provenance into another object at auction, inseparable from the market it depicts. A second video work documenting this sale will become part of the project. The presence of the Christie’s catalogue in the gallery exhibition prefigures the auction.
Amie Siegel was born in 1974 in Chicago, USA. Her work has been exhibited internationally at MoMA/PS1, Walker Art Center, Hayward Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, KW Berlin, ICA Boston and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Screenings include Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, New York Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Art, and the Harvard Film Archive among many other museums and
cinematheques She has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm, the Guggenheim Foundation and The Film Study Center at Harvard University, as well as a recipient of the ICA Bostonʼs Foster Prize and, most recently, a Sundance Institute Film Fund award for Provenance.