Ikon presented the first UK solo exhibition by Ukrainian artist Yuri Leiderman, a series of performative installations in which the artist dealt with legacies of history, cultural stereotyping and national identity.
For this exhibition, the figure of the artist was central as he sat in solemn silence, dressed absurdly as a Swiss naval captain, focusing on a round tin. His handmade, cartoon-like uniform acted as a foil for the seriousness of contemplated historical atrocities. Whilst he was lost in this isolated rumination, a cacophony of sound filled the space. Six groups of local musicians drawn from different cultural backgrounds performed throughout the gallery, presenting an ever evolving composition encapsulating their varying ‘folk’ traditions. Chinese lute and harp players, an English folk violinist, African drummers and an Albanian clarinet player, improvised together against backdrops of photographic assemblages. These montages featured various images from wartime, establishing a monochrome link to the live ‘here and now’, to ongoing issues arising out of assumptions of diversity and multiculturalism. Here, music was suggested as an artform with the potential to transcend borders; a communication open to influence, welcoming difference.
Thanks to all of the musicians:
Max Gittings – Flute, other ethnic flutes and winds
Bland Mahdi – Oud and tar
Blerim Bajrami – Clarinet
Miri Alibashi – Balalaika
Christakes Demetrios – Guitar
Ruth Angell – Violin
Roi Kwabena – Drum, percussion
Ahoefa Hales – Voice
Steve Yimga – Drum, percussion
Cheng Yu – Pipa
Li Ming – Erhu
Cheng-Ying Chuang – Liuqin, Zhongruan
Sanchita Pal – Sitar, harmonium, voice
Birmingham Pattern was supported by The John Feeney Charitable Trust, the University of Central England Birmingham Conservatoire and Sound It Out. This exhibition was a collaboration with Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva.