Generalisations and simplifications make it easier for us to interpret the world around us, but they also make it political. Loulou Cherinet has said that she is fascinated by how politics is: “What it tastes, looks and sounds like when a nation manifests itself in our bodies, discussions, behaviours.”
In this exhibition, you can see five video works from 2002 to today
In White Women (2002), eight black men at a staged dinner talk about encounters and relationships with white women. Their discussion is filmed with a rotating camera in the middle of the table.
Minor Field Study (2006) is based on research footage shot by the anthropologist Billy Marius along the border between Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon. Selected sequences from this documentation are shown alongside clips that Cherinet filmed herself in Orminge outside Stockholm.
Magical Transformations of the World (2009). Here, Cherinet has filmed five actresses improvising ordinary emotional reactions to political scenarios: sorrow, humour, distress, indifference and rage. The imagery of the film is inspired by the trial scene in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent movie classic The Passion of Joan of Arc.
Big Data (2014) consists of a growing archive of Loulou Cherinet’s continuous documentation of places and buildings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These places represent how modernist ruins, historic landmarks, and contemporary socioeconomic changes are layered in the urban environment.
Statecraft (2017) is a sequel of sorts to a collaborative project for the Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art (House of Words, 2015), based on filmed discussions on “insidership”, contrasted with the notion of “outsidership”.The term “outsidership” in its current meaning was established in the 2006 election campaign when it was primarily associated with the liberal-centre-right alliance’s ideas on labour. One year later, the new government stated that there were one million sixty-three thousand two-hundred and twenty persons “in outsidership” in Sweden in 2007. The concept has since been regularly criticised for being unscientific, lacking any established definition for the calculation of “outsidership”, and different sides in the debate use it to signify different things. And yet, the word is bandied about by people from all over the political spectrum. The question of who and how many are socially excluded has nevertheless come to be a rhetorical battlefield in Swedish politics.
About the exhibition title
The title Who Learns My Lesson Complete? is from a poem by the American poet Walt Whitman. Cherinet says that she feels an affinity with Whitman’s meandering oeuvre and rarely completed works.
About Loulou Cherinet
Loulou Cherinet (b. 1970) studied at Addis Ababa University School of Fine Art & Design and the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. She lives and works in Stockholm, where she is a professor at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Her artistic practice is largely outside Sweden, primarily in Ethiopia, in the form of ongoing interdisciplinary collaborations.
Cherinet has had solo exhibitions in Gothenburg, Addis Ababa, Prague, Krakow, Lüneburg and Jakarta. Her works have been shown at biennials in Gothenburg, São Paulo, Venice, Bamako and Sydney, at Manifesta 8, Momentum 7, and in many major group exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2006) and Divine Comedy (2014), both curated by Simon Njami, the Moderna Exhibition (2006) and The New Human (2015) at Moderna Museet Malmö.
Curators: Fredrik Liew, Ulf Eriksson
Part of the Before and Behind the Lens project
Loulou Cherinet – Who Learns My Lesson Complete? is part of the photographic project Before and Behind the Lens, which consists of a series of exhibitions, discussions and guided tours. Before and Behind the Lens examines the role of photographic images in art and the transformation of the medium since the early experiments with new technology in the 19th century, to today’s explorations of the potential of the optical lens.