The Work Between Us – Paper – Sophie Orlando



Wednesday 20 January 2016

Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, UK

#WorkBetweenUs @AHRC_BAM

Dr Sophie Orlando (presented by Ella S. Mills)

The Other Story, La Méprise

The Méprise is a French term that evokes Godard’s major film Contempt (1963), relating tradition and modernity in cinema’s history. It also means ‘to disregard’, as well as ‘to be mistaken’. Recent analyses on The Other Story’s reception have developed in relation to concomitant events such as Les Magiciens de la Terre, in Paris and the Havana Biennal in Cuba as simultaneous and opposite sites to address the West’s sudden awakening or need to redefine contemporaneity and modernity (Jean Fisher, 2012). This paper attempts to question how the reception of The Other Story has established different kinds of refusal and disregard towards Black British Art in the years that followed the exhibition, and also a resistance against the discourse on artistic modernities that Rasheed Araeen proposed through the exhibition. Indeed, the press reviews reveal more about conflicts within curatorial discourse than they do about the artworks, which are barely discussed. Looking at Charles Gaines’ The Theatre of Refusal (1994), this paper will discuss the nature of refusal, disregard and ‘méprise’ in relation to the press reviews of The Other Story and how the reception of the exhibition Plural Modernities (2013) might help us to understand the continued refusal of The Other Story, long after 1989.

As part of the Black Artists & Modernism project, there are unfolding discussions amongst the research team and with scholars, artists, curators and other engaged publics.


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