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Ross Birrell
The Transit of Hermes

Thu 19 April — Sun 3 June 2018


CCA presents Scottish artist Ross Birrell’s 2017 documenta 14 projects, Criollo and The Athens-Kassel Ride: The Transit of Hermes, including new film and installation works conceived specifically for this exhibition.

The projects were inspired by Tschiffely’s Ride, a 10,000 mile journey from Buenos Aires to New York (1925-1928) by Swiss-Argentine Aimé Félix Tschiffely on two Argentine criollo horses, Mancha and Gato. The criollo horse is a mixture of Arab and Barbary breeds, the name stemming from ‘creole’ with associations of social and cultural mixing. Tschiffely’s account was published in 1933, the same year Hitler seized power in Germany, implementing a bio-politics of hatred based upon an ideology of racial purity. In contrast, Tschiffely’s Ride is dedicated “to many friends – of whatever race, nationality or creed – Who did their utmost to make rough places smooth.”

In Birrell’s film, Criollo (2017), we encounter a solitary horse at the threshold to Central Park at the end of 6th Avenue - Avenue of the Americas. Photographs document the animal’s journey via air and road transportation as it appears at three identical equestrian statues to the Argentine leader, José de San Martín, in Buenos Aires, Washington D.C., and New York.

Linking the two cities of documenta 14, The Athens-Kassel Ride was undertaken by experienced long riders (Peter van der Gugten, David Wewetzer, Zsolt Szabo and Tina Boche) and their equine companions (Artvin, Issy Kul, Paco and Calfino Sancho). The ride traced a 3000km trail through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany.

The riders were accompanied by a Greek Arravani horse ‘Hermes,’ named by Birrell after the Greek god of border crossings. The Transit of Hermes is the journey of a Greek horse which also becomes a mythical messenger of the Gods, constantly in motion between two worlds.

The Transit of Hermes is an exhibition, therefore, which combines literal and metaphorical journeys, traversing north and south, human and animal, myth and materiality.

Part of Glasgow International 2018.

Talk: Filipa Ramos on Animal Presences, Fri 20 April 11am, GFT, Free (unticketed) / All ages
Artist talk: Fri 27 April, 1pm, CCA, Free but ticketed / All ages
The Parasite, Book Launch, Wed 23 May, 6pm, CCA, Free but ticketed / All ages

Podcast
Ross Birrell in conversation with writer & curator Filipa Ramos, discussing the poetics of animal presences and the broader themes explored throughout his projects Criollo and The Athens-Kassel Ride: The Transit of Hermes. The podcast can be found here.

Those with allergies should take note that this exhibition includes the installation of 240 bales of straw across the three spaces, and a horse trailer that was used to carry Hermes the horse during the Athens-Kassel ride. It also contains used equestrian equipment. In CCA2 is a large wall projection in a semi darkened room, with spotlights to allow viewing of artworks on the walls. There is low level sound in the film work. In CCA3 the space is lit with natural day light and some additional overhead lighting. and framed photographs on the walls. In CCA2 is a semi darkened space for a wall projection, with spot lights on artworks. The film in CCA is silent.

Please see here for our full Accessibility Guide.