Mariah Garnett

Mariah Garnett

LTD LOS ANGELES
7561 W Sunset Boulevard, 103
March 12–April 16

Belfast’s major tourist industries include rubbernecking at locations from Titanic or Game of Thrones and Northern Irish Conflict tours, the latter revolving around prisons and weapons. In 2007, Mariah Garnett first met her father, a native of the city and a Protestant whose teenage relationship with a Catholic girl was featured on the BBC in 1971 as a soap opera—an optimistic sign of integration in a pre–Bloody Sunday era. The postbroadcast attention, however, caused him to leave Belfast at nineteen. He never returned, but Garnett spent some months in the city last year, faithfully re-creating the original news-network footage frame by frame, casting herself as her father and Irish trans actress Robyn Reihill as his young love. The resulting 16-mm metadocumentary, Other & Father (all works 2016), is a split screen comparing these parallel narratives—one shaped by journalistic editing to sensationalize a star-crossed love story enough for prime-time drama, the other side a contemporary allegory grafting gender politics onto family dynamics, the logic of media, and civil war.

Circling the ambiguous figure of her father by performing this constructed version of him, the artist sets up an oblique confrontation—enclosing him and surrendering insight into this then stranger’s life, all without his participation. A few entries from Garnett’s diary documenting her first days meeting her father line the entrance wall of the gallery, where there is also another monitor, displaying the video Dad watching himself , one that provides some satisfaction and a measure of partnership between these people.

Artforum

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