Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens

An Alert Rabbit Breathing Purified Air

Visningsrommet USF
USF Verftet, Georgenes Verft 12, Bergen Map

Opening Friday 7th December 2018 at 18:00

Tuesday–Sunday 12–16
Thursday 12–18
Monday closed.


On Thursday 6th of December at 17:00 there will be a lecture by Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas at the Visningsrommet USF.

On Sunday 9th of December at 12:00 there will be a seminar with presentations by Espen Sommer Eide and Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens at the Visningsrommet USF.

On Monday 10th of December at 16:30 Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens will give a public talk at Monday Lectures at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen.

The exhibition An Alert Rabbit Breathing Purified Air brings together new works by artist duo Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens that reflect on how the scientific community has approached and depicted non-human animal behaviour and cognition from the early 20th century to the present.

Drawing upon key experiments conducted in laboratories by psychologists, biologists, ethologists, zoologists and neuroscientists, Anthology of Performance Pieces for Animals (2018-ongoing) explores the various devices imagined by scientists to test the cognitive abilities of animals, including the examination of memory, spatial awareness, numerosity, and communication.

The work takes the form of an artist book as well as scaled models of experimental apparatus alongside texts which read as instructions for performances. Through this emphasis on performance, the work explores what happens when animals involved in research are no longer depicted as passive objects but rather as active participants, as performers, who make sense of the situations in which they are placed.

This question is also present in Score for Nine Young Performers Playing in a Field (2018), a work consisting of a video and ten collages. The piece presents a performance score for a group of lambs using a form of notation inspired by ethograms, a library of species-specific actions and gestures widely used by scientists to quantify animal behaviour. Located somewhere between geometric abstraction and the data table, the collages explore how scientists use diagrammatic forms to classify and interpret data.

Through sculpture, writing, video and collage, Ibghy and Lemmens reflect and speculate on how animals may make sense of the experiments in which they are made to participate. The artists also highlight how the reductionism involved in the controlled conditions of the laboratory influences the questions that may be asked. This project furthers their long-standing inquiry into scientific methodologies, including the use of observation, measurement, abstraction, and the graphical representation of data.

Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, Task-based Piece for Two Capuchin Monkeys, Cucumbers, and Grapes, from the series Anthology of Performance Pieces for Animals. Bamboo, coloured gel, string, and text, 2018-ongoing.

Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens

Collaborating since 2002, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens have developed a collaborative practice that spans multiple media, including video, performance and installation. Most recently, their work was presented in solo exhibitions at the Audain Gallery, Vancouver (2018), Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Canada (2017), Jane Lombard Gallery, New York (2017), Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, Canada (2017), the International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York (2016), Esker Foundation Contemporary Art Gallery, Calgary (2016), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal (2016), VOX, Montreal (2014), and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles (2012). They have participated in a number of group exhibitions including the 2nd OFF-Biennale, Budapest (2017), XIII Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador (2016), 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015), La Biennale de Montréal (2014), Manif d’art 7: Quebec City Biennial (2014), and 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011). They live in Durham-Sud, Canada.

The exhibition has received funding from City of Bergen and Conceils des arts et des lettres du Québec. Volt’s programme in 2018 is funded by the City of Bergen and the Arts Council Norway.

Photo: Bjarte Bjørkum, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens

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