Una Knox is a Vancouver and London, UK based artist whose work has been shown at Postmasters Gallery, New York; Or Gallery, Vancouver; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver; Cornerhouse, Manchester. She is part of New Contemporaries 09, London and a recipient of The Red Mansion Art Prize 09.
ISABELLE CORNARO, KEREN CYTTER, CHTO DELAT / WHAT IS TO BE DONE?, TARJE EIKANGER GULLAKSEN, SUSAN HILLER, UNA KNOX, ELIZA NEWMAN-SAUL
November 18–January 16, 2010
Underground Man is a project that consists of performance, film screenings, conversation, and a publication that takes method acting as a starting point. This way of acting or dealing with form, language, and representation is one of the most discussed methods in theatre and film, but within contemporary art it is applied in a more disguised (or natural) manner. This project, a case study of sorts, questions if method acting is a way to curb the self within a highly constructed and staged society. How do we act and how do we look at what is depicted?
The title refers to Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground in which the author portrays humans as irrational, uncontrollable, and uncooperative. The novel was considered a forerunner of existentialist thought and conjures up notions of going undercover in order to find information, to move in a space between the collective and the individual, off stage and on stage, between visibility and invisibility, and to be able to stage a context for oneself in order to act upon freely.
In trying to find a new language to discuss the way we live and work, method acting is a metaphor not only for actors. With this in mind, it allows the self to respond differently and flexibly in new situations. But it requires a fine balance between memory and the present—bridging expressions between nature and artificiality, subject, and object—to create radical breaks with the past for the sake of continuity. What becomes visible and what stays invisible? How do we choose?
As method acting requires the use of the self for the sake of external representation, the artists in this project respond to thoughts on form and method, surface and interior, and incorporate performance and film.