Janice Kerbel
1 April 2011 – 15 May 2011
Opening: Friday 1 April

Chisenhale Gallery presents a major new commission by Janice Kerbel. Described by Kerbel as ‘a play for stage lights’, Kill the Workers! (2011) takes its cue from dramatic narrative but is executed solely by theatrical lighting.

Following the conventions and mechanics of stage lighting and dramatic genres and forms, Kerbel has written a cue script for lights in the vein of a mythic odyssey. Desiring to be seen as light itself, rather than as light serving to illuminate form, a single ‘spotlight’ becomes the key protagonist on an epic journey of conflict and transformation to become one with the ‘worker’ lights, and to realise his dream of ‘open white’.

Dramatic tension and plot progression are conveyed through changes in the intensity, colour, pattern and direction of the stage lights. The work consists only of a lighting rig and the lights become both characters enacting scenes -‘the farewell’, ‘lost in the forest’ or ‘dream interlude’ - and technicians responsible for conjuring atmosphere.

Kill the Workers! ultimately disregards the conditions of theatre and its associated positioning of the audience, actors or the dramatic structures from which it is derived. Instead, a classic struggle is staged between the real and the symbolic through minimal spatial and temporal means. This work continues Kerbel’s interest in ‘theatrical performance and the desire to find form for things that cannot be seen but which conjure alternative states’.

Kerbel’s work is often produced in relation to existing logic systems, re-configuring the principle applications of organising structures to better define the relationship between reality, imagination and illusion. Her work ranges from installations to book projects, prints and audio works. In 2006, Kerbel wrote Nick Silver Can’t Sleep, a radio play for insomniacs produced by Artangel Interaction and broadcast on Radio 3, starring Rufus Sewell and Fiona Shaw. Most recently, Kerbel presented Ballgame (2009–ongoing), for which she studied the language of baseball commentary in order to script a full 90-minute, 9-innings game for a voice actor.

Janice Kerbel (b.1969, Canada) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Art Now, Tate Britain (2010); greengrassi, London (2009); Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Canada (2009); Remarkable, Frieze Art Fair Projects (2007). Selected group exhibitions include Poor. Old. Tired. Horse., ICA, London (2009); Gartenstadt, Kunstverein Hildesheim (2009); Magic, Hayward Gallery Touring (2009); 1st at Moderna, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006). Her book, 15 Lombard St (2000), is published by Book Works, London.

Kill the Workers! (2011) is co-commissioned with Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany and will be presented there in a solo exhibition, 1 July - 11 September 2011.

Chisenhale Exhibitions Partner 2011: Outset Contemporary Art Fund

Janice Kerbel's exhibition is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and Canada House Arts Trust.

Click here to download an interview with Janice Kerbel about her exhibition at Chisenhale.

A limited edition print by Janice Kerbel has been produced to accompany the exhibition. For more details please visit our online shop, here.
Janice Kerbel In Converstation with Catherine Wood 14/04/2011 by Chisenhale Gallery
John Tilbury talk 12/05/2011 by Chisenhale Gallery

  • Friday 13 May

    Writer, critic and broadcaster Bidisha leads a creative writing workshop for short-story writers of all abilities. Participants will be able to work through writing exercises in response to Janice Kerbel’s exhibition and also focus on existing personal writing projects, with Bidisha offering advice and experienced critique. 

    Tickets £10, advance booking required.

    All events are free unless stated otherwise. Booking is strongly advised. Please contact mail@chisenhale.org.uk to make a reservation.

    Thursday 12 May

    At the invitation of Janice Kerbel, John Tilbury, pianist and member of pioneering improvisation group AMM, discusses his current recording project in which he interprets Samuel Beckett’s novella Worstward Ho.

    Saturday 7 May

    Writer and artist Cally Spooner leads a tour of the exhibition.

    Thursday 14 April

    Catherine Wood, Curator of Contemporary Art & Performance at Tate Modern, in conversation with Janice Kerbel.

    Saturday 9 April

    Artist Tamarin Norwood leads a free drop-in family workshop inspired by Janice Kerbel's exhibition.
    All welcome, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Limited Edition
  • Chisenhale Gallery
    64 Chisenhale Road
    London E3 5QZ

    T: +44 (0)20 8981 4518 mail@chisenhale.org.uk

    For media enquiries please contact:
    Julia Schouten at SUTTON on +44 (0)20 7183 3577 or julias@suttonpr.com
    Ellen Greig on +44 (0)20 3328 1964 or ellen.greig@chisenhale.org.uk