Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: The House of Books Has No Windows

31.07.08 – 28.09.08

This exhibition offered a rare chance to experience the work of one of the most internationally respected artist partnerships. Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s collaborative installations are multi-layered, multimedia experiences. Using objects, images and sound, they collage together impressions and experiences, memory and history, mixing references to high and popular culture in works which draw an audience into a series of intensely credible fictions.

The six installations in the exhibition enticed the viewer into six new worlds. In one room, we peered into a mini cinema, screening a five minute Midwestern film noir. Opening an old door into another, we seemed to have strayed into the artists’ studio: a room stuffed with books, record players, speakers, models, notes and drawings, all of which start to tell us stories as we wander amongst them. In a third room, 2,000 records, 8 robotically-controlled record players and 24 speakers performed a 20-minute, automated opera, collaging together arias from Italian operas, rock music, a recording of a stage hypnotist from the 1970s, the sound of rain and a train, and the lonely musings of an opera-lover alone in his room in the middle of nowhere. Cardiff/Miller’s work is mesmerising, as much theatre as installation. Original, imaginative and performative, this exhibition was a coup for The Fruitmarket Gallery and a treat for its audiences.

Exhibition organised in collaboration with Modern Art Oxford.

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