Oct 11th 2013

Unfortunately, It Was Paradise

@ City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower

806 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611

Opening Friday, October 11th, from 5:30PM - 7:30PM

On view through Sunday, January 19th

“There is a matter-of-fact quality to Regina Mamou’s photographs of long-gone utopian communities at locations throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, selections of which are exhibited in ‘Unfortunately, It Was Paradise.’ The series resembles a straightforward historical study at first, but it whittles away at its own self-assurances, giving way to a more open-ended investigation, an inquisitive tangle of ruminative questions. The photographs employ observational methods and an unembellished style like we’ve come to associate with documentary photography, but their primary aim isn’t to convey historical information. If it’s history we’re after, the past appears unexplained, unannotated, in need of deciphering. Mamou approaches her subjects obliquely, interested more in the ambiguous overlay of past and present in these places, the aesthetics of the communities coded into the landscape, and the ways visual evidence requires interpretation. Her photographs are amalgams of what took place at these sites in the mid-19th century, what she found when she visited recently, and her subjective choices of what to record. At the heart of her work—serving as a key perhaps—is the matter of ‘vision,’ uniquely here encompassing the word’s multiple definitions. A vision can be a mental image of what the future could be like; it can be the experience of seeing a supernatural apparition, as if in a dream; it can be someone’s ambitious idea; not least of all, it can refer to the basic state of being able to see—which is to say, the not-so-simple faculty of seeing.”

Excerpt from accompanying essay, “Vision, However Uncertain,” by Karsten Lund, Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Exhibition curated by DCASE

Regina Mamou is a Chicago-based visual artist working at the intersection of photography, installation, and research practices. In 2009 she received a 15-month Fulbright Fellowship to Jordan to explore navigational methods and memory in Amman. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include Makan Art Space in Amman, Jordan (2010); Action Field Kodra’s 11th Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece (2011); and The Chicago Project online at Catherine Edelman Gallery (2012). Mamou holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Please visit reginamamou.com for more information.

Official Website

More events on this date