• Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy

  • Omer Fast

  • Emma Kay

  • Omer Fast

  • Emma Kay

  • Omer Fast

The Same River Twice: Part 2

7 March–25 April 2009

Emma Kay, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Omer Fast


Curated by Angela Goddard and Robert Leonard

Greek philosopher Heraclitus is famed for his observation that 'no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.' With its stellar international line-up, The Same River Twice deals with a hot theme in recent art—historical reenactment. The artists all remake or recall history, with a twist. The second installment features three artists. British artist Emma Kay tries to recall all of art history and all Shakespeare's plays from memory, without recourse to reference works. The gaps and distortions in her account suggest her own levels of interest, experience, and priorities. Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy restage Vito Acconci performances-for-video in the manner of a Californian porn movie, at once irreverently trumping and revealing subtexts in their original. For Godville, American artist Omer Fast interviews the 'living historians' of Colonial Williamsberg, who live in eighteenth-century style for the edification and amusement of tourists. This video work mixes up comments they make 'in character' with comments about their real lives in a meditation on the social and political fragmentation of American society, spiritual oppression, bigotry, sadness, war, ethics, and god.