STUK presents the work of contemporary visual artist Helen Cammock (b. 1970). In her multidisciplinary and audiovisual essayistic practice, Helen Cammock connects the personal and intimate with the political,the lived experience with its social enactment, in an attempt to better understand the human condition in all its frailty and strength. Seemingly without effort, she moves from personal stories to a lucid narration of the histories and power structures that make up the scenery in which these narratives take place. Her work sheds light on how these histories are alive, embodied in people and their stories.
In her first Belgian solo exhibition, BENEATH THE SURFACE OF SKIN, Helen Cammock presents two recent bodies of work: Che si può fare explores the power of women’s laments and their potential to act as expressions of survival, resilience, and hope. Created during a six-month journey across Italy and based on countless conversations, it became a trans historical, international, contemporary lament of its own. In They Call it Idlewild, Cammock’s voice, supported by a gentle stream of slowly moving images, muses on the concept of idleness, the politics of laziness, and purposelessness as a form of privilege. Two billboards frame They Call it Idlewild, and by extension the entire exhibition in which Cammock manifests once again her particular ability to condense complex thought into moments of keen clarity.
The exhibition is part of a series of solo exhibitions in STUK by contemporary visual artists who have a particular affinity for the moving image. Previous exhibitions in this series include Mircea Cantor: Am I really free?; Angela Washko: Point of View; Sebastián Díaz Morales: Talk with Dust; Mika Taanila: The End; Nevin Aladağ: Rollin’; Omer Fast: Appendix; Joachim Koester: Maybe this act, this work, this thing; Emre Hüner: Neochronophobiq; John Akomfrah: Auto Da Fé; and Bjørn Melhus: The Theory of Freedom.
Helen Cammock works across moving image, photography, writing, poetry, performance, printmaking and installation. She is interested in histories, authorship, storytelling and the excavation of unheard, excluded and buried voices. In her research-based practice, Cammock often maps her own writing, literature, poetry, philosophical and other found texts, onto social and political situations. She attempts to interrogate the ways stories are told, the hierarchy of histories and who is rendered invisible and therefore unacknowledged.
Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions around the globe including Whitechapel Gallery, Maramotti Collection, Turner Contemporary Margate, Hamburg Kunsthalle and Kunsthaus Bregenz. Helen Cammock was the joint winner of the Turner Prize 2019 (together with Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani) and the winner of the 7th Max Mara Art Prize for Women. She lives and works in Brighton and London, and is represented by Kate MacGarry, London.