#CASatHome: Our Magnolia (2009), by Nashashibi/Skaer

13 May 2020 By

This film was online from 12.00, 13 May 2020 to 12.00, 16 May 2020

As part of our #CASatHome film series we are pleased to present Our Magnolia (2009) by Nashashibi/Skaer, a collaboration between British artists Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer. Donated by the CAS to The Hunterian, Glasgow in 2015, it has been made available here for 72 hours only through the generosity of LUX.

Our Magnolia takes as its starting point the surreal landscape painting Flight of the Magnolia (1944) by Paul Nash, official war artist of World War I and World War II. In this context, the painting’s flower motif comes to represent the unfolding parachutes used by airborne regiments or artillery explosions. Nashashibi/Skaer’s film develops this reference with a series of enigmatic associations that form the thread running through Our Magnolia. A shot of the half-visible skeletal shape of a decomposing whale buried on a deserted beach echoes a drawing of a whale skeleton with the title Death, which is part of Leonora (2006), a work by Lucy Skaer also in the Hunterian collection.

The images in the film are often as seductive as they are threatening, carrying the suggestion of impending disaster; even flickering images of flowers are loaded with menace. The natural imagery is then interrupted by politically loaded symbols; photographs of Margaret Thatcher and footage of an American passenger plane. The soundtrack erupts from total silence with the anguished reaction of a woman to the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the end, Paul Nash’s painting re-emerges but this time barely visible through scratches on the film and accompanied by loud, abrasive static noises that resemble crashing waves.

Lucy Skaer (b.1975, Cambridge) lives and works in London and Glasgow. In 2009, Skaer was a Turner Prize finalist, an in 2007 she represented Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Recent solo exhibitions include S.M.A.K, Ghent (2019/20); Meessen De Clerq, Brussels (2019).

Rosalind Nashashibi (b.1973, Croydon) lives and works in London. In 2017, she was nominated for the Turner Prize. She has had solo exhibitions at GRIMM, New York; S.M.A.K., Ghent; The High Line, New York (all 2019).