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Jane and Louise Wilson

UK-based artist duo Jane and Louise Wilson visited Ise City in Mie Prefecture, Japan, in October 2019 as part of the Ise City Residency 2019 programme. The residency was a collaboration between the British Council and the Department of Industry and Tourism Ise City, inviting six UK-based artists to Ise City, home of Ise Jingu, one of the most important and prestigious Shinto Shrines in Japan.

‘A Performance of Entrapment’ (2023) is a film that was inspired by the artist’s experiences in Ise and interactions with the community.

Introduction to the film by the artist

‘A Performance of Entrapment’ (2023) reflects upon our time based within the protected sites and shrines within the Ise Jingu and the Ise-Ondo performers. This new film work pays homage to Amaterasu-Omikami and the Ise-Ondo, hinting at the sacred and nature through a performance of doubles and mirrors. We were inspired by the architecture of the Ise Jingu and its wooden forms made from hinoki trees. At a time of acute climate crisis, we wanted to invite an audience to consider these potential sites for healing, ritual, and belief.

We were Inspired by The Art of Mirrors (1973) by Derek Jarman. As artists based in the UK, we wanted to connect Jarman’s use of seventeenth- century Baroque entertainment, through the ‘masque’ which is an ‘art form involving dance and spectacle’ The masque, in the seventeenth century, was a court performance that “elaborately staged conflict between order and disorder” to the Japanese tradition of Ise-Ondo dance where masks become fans and fans become mirrors. 

Through a choreography of hand-held mirror’s, the subjects reflect and refract back spatial dislocation which operates rather like a ritualistic morse code, flashing light messages to figures embedded within the dance and the landscape. It reflects how we exist in different realities, otherworldly yet deeply familiar and by literally holding up a mirror to the current moment.

How to enjoy the film

‘A Performance of Entrapment’ (2023) will be premiered to an audience of invited guests at the Royal Academy of Arts, London on Friday 31 March 2023. There will be further screenings where members of the public can enjoy this new work, as well as a special online showcase later in the year. Details will be posted on this webpage.

About the artist

Jane and Louise Wilson have been working as an artist duo in collaboration for over three decades since 1989, Their early works centered on the mechanics of surveillance and including research on biometrics, and FRT technology. Their early works reflected on abandoned buildings and reveal a form of psychic architecture often imbued with the presence and ideology of the original occupants. Through carefully choreographed film installations, sound works and photography they have explored some of Europe’s least accessible sites including a former Stasi Prison in former East Berlin, the British Houses of Parliament and the huge Star City complex in Moscow, a key site of the Russian Space Program. In 1996 they were awarded a DAAD artists scholarship in Berlin and Hanover. In 1999 they were nominated for The Turner Prize for their multi-screen installation Gamma 1999. The Wilson sisters have had held exhibitions in the UK and internationally in international group shows, including the Carnegie International (1999), Korean Biennial (2000), Istanbul Biennial (2001), Moving Pictures at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2003), and Out of Time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2006). Solo exhibitions have included Suspending Time (2010) at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Tempo Suspenso, CGAC, Santiago de Compostela; The Toxic Camera (2015) at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Conflict, Time, and Photography (2015) at Tate Modern; Sealander (2017) at Focus Gallery, The John Paul Getty Museum; Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy (September 2018 – March 2019), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. ‘The Toxic Camera’ Jane and Louise Wilson at Maureen Paley, London April – May 2022. ‘Dreamtime TM’ Jane and Louise Wilson, UCI University Art Gallery, Irvine, California, Jan-March 2023.

Jane Wilson is a board member of DACS and former Tate Trustee. Louise Wilson is a former board member of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Jane and Louise are appointed as joint Professors of Fine Art at Newcastle University and Royal Academicians in 2018.

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