27 November 2010 – 12 February 2011

Gabriel Lester

By invitation of both Rodeo and Yama and in dialogue with curator Krist Gruijthuijsen, Gabriel Lester has conceived an exhibition on two separate platforms, one as a commission for Yama’s video screen located on top of the Marmara Pera hotel, which will also include screenings in two different rooms located inside the hotel, and a solo show at Rodeo.

Over the past year, Lester’s research has evolved around the notion and perception of “fortune” as a continuation of his ongoing exploration into the mechanisms of illusion and sleights of hand that cause us to suspend our disbelief. As the dictionary so explicitly formulates, symbolizes “fortune” a form of chance or luck as an external, arbitrary force affecting human affairs while simultaneously indicating a significant amount of assets. Stemming from Greek –Roman mythology as the personification of luck (both good and bad), Goddess Fortuna represents the unpredictability of human destiny. It is this unpredictability that forms the starting point for series of works, in which Lester aims to articulate the capricious nature of fate by concentrating on the politics around (physical) representation and objectification of “luck”.

The title “Dilsiz” (meaning mute) simultaneously provokes the reckless pursuit of wealth and riches, as witnessed in recent speculation within the financial system and market.

Inspired upon Istanbul’s “Column of the Goths” (268-270 AD) which honors Fortuna, the exhibition at Rodeo displays works that demystify and re-appropriate the aesthetics of original props used within the history of commercial and popular culture as reference tools to “luck”, such as a 1: 100 marble replica of the Column (as to be found in the Gülhane park in Istanbul), a dysfunctional lottery machine erased from all its content and a series of prints on the hereditary randomness of physical features.

Yama presents a new commissioned film, which negotiates the idea of the divine as the rule of faith and fortune by presenting a close-up of a nail polished hand that selects balls from a lotto machine while placing the numbers in visible order.

Juxtaposed to the screen on top of the Marmara Pera Hotel, the two narrative video-works “All Wrong” (2005) and “All Right” (2006) will be displayed in separate hotel rooms on common television sets, as if part of a regular hotel room setting. The movies are based and composed of (moving) images found on the Internet and were commissioned by the IX Baltic Triennial (Lithuania) and the Busan Biennial 2006 (South Korea).

“All Wrong” and “All Right” each tell the story of a man struck by destiny as it proposes and imposes itself. Through a journey of time, ideas and encounters, the leading character eventually “concludes” if he has been either all right or all wrong. Since both films are comprised of so-called found footage, each scene and segment of the film is not only a part of the narrative, but refers to another narrative: namely the one it has been taken from. In such way the films depict the notion and construction of narratives on several levels, proposing a composition by proxy.