Catherine Yass

18 November - 23 December 2004

Alison Jacques Gallery presents a new film and series of four photographs on light boxes by Catherine Yass. Over the last year, Yass has been filming and photographing the Israel/Palestine separation wall from Israeli-controlled areas.

The resulting film entitled Wall, will be projected across the entire width of the gallery. Using a widescreen film format, Yass has concentrated on the physicality of the wall as it winds through communities and stretches across the landscape. The footage is structured in separate sequences, corresponding to recently constructed sections of the wall in Baka, Qalqiliya, Abu Dis and Al-Eizariya.

Yass has developed a distinctive language, which conveys her own personal response. As with her previous film Descent, for which she was nominated for the Turner Prize at Tate Britain (2002), the single viewpoint and insistent camera movement are at once subjective and mechanical. The wall almost fills the frame, so buildings and minarets are only just visible behind it. The restricted viewpoint of the camera re-enacts the limited view imposed by the wall, and reflects the inability to see the other side. As well as representing a physical structure, the film shows the wall as, literally, a concrete manifestation of psychological barriers.

The photographs are on light boxes and underlaid with a blue negative, which gives the wall the quality of a mirage hovering somewhere in the imagination. In the areas where the wall is still under construction, building blocks lying in the rubble take on an eerie sense of ruin, as though they are part of an archaeological site. The concrete blocks of the wall bear a resemblance to modernist architecture and sculpture, only here it is the wall which imposes the grid and brings modernism back to contemporary experience in a form where aesthetics and politics become indissoluble.

Catherine Yass was born in London (1963) and graduated with an MA from Goldsmiths College (1990). In 2002, Catherine Yass was nominated for the Turner Prize at Tate Britain. Since then, Yass has collaborated with Merce Cunningham on his world tour of Split Sides, which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy, New York (2003) and toured to Paris and London (The Barbican, October, 2004). Forthcoming projects include a solo show at the Herzliya Museum, Tel Aviv and participation in WOW at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle and Expo Tokyo, Japan (2005). Catherine Yass is represented in many public collections including The British Council, Tate Britain and The Jewish Museum, New York.