Facsimile of Seymour Rosofsky painting featured in installation at Swiss Institute

Jan. 21, 2021

EXHIBITION | New York | A facsimile of Seymour Rosofsky's painting, Unemployment Agency (1957-1958) is featured in a mixed media environment in Hergest: Trem, a collaborative exhibition by Angharad Williams & Mathis Gasser at Swiss Institute.


Swiss Institute is pleased to present Hergest: Trem, the first collaborative exhibition by Angharad Williams and Mathis Gasser in the United States. Trem, Welsh for “view” and “sight,” marks the sixth cycle of the artists’ ongoing Hergest project.

Since 2016, Williams and Gasser have staged a series of episodic installations across the United Kingdom and Switzerland under the title Hergest that draw upon their shared interests in folklore, mythology, science fiction and cinematic depictions of the near future. Both artists work jointly on all facets of their exhibitions, which feature original artworks, performances and found objects arranged as disquieting mises-en-scène. An ambiguous absence and preternatural forms distinguish Hergest: Trem, where visitors encounter a deteriorating ad hoc bar and recreation space occupied by an uncommon set of guests.

“Hergest” is an ancient Welsh toponym that lends its name to a hilly ridge on the border between England and Wales, as well as the title of a singular medieval Welsh manuscript containing the Mabinogion and other mythological tales and poems: The Red Book of Hergest. Inquiries into the relationship between site and story are important to Williams and Gasser, who cull archetypes and plots from literature, film and television, along with diverse visual references, and synthesize them in response to their environment. The result is a new narrative of the artists’ own making. At SI, Hergest: Trem inhabits the basement gallery as a makeshift, subterranean zone of clandestine gathering that recalls the trope of the urban speakeasy.

A reddish glow spills from this room, which houses an interspecies cast of characters. Reptiles, a human and a specter rest near one another in solitary moments of stasis. A portal-like canvas serves as décor and depicts a bureaucratic architecture populated with seated, faceless figures linked in their loneliness to the varied beings in this shadowy bar. Resting on plinths and tucked away in booths are structures that portray a hive, an engineered terrain and an unorientable planet.

Hergest: Trem momentarily captures a tenuous connection between lives, things and the architectures that contain them. On the brink of an ebb, this hidden realm may not persist beyond the departure of its visitors.

Learn more HERE.

Hergest: Trem
January 20–April 18, 2021

Pictured: Mixed media environment featuring a reproduction of Seymour Rosofsky, Unemployment Agency, 1957-1958. Oil on canvas. 129.5 × 182.9 cm (51 × 72 in.) Art Institute of Chicago, restricted gifts of Carol Rosofsky, Steven Rosfosky, Amy Rosofsky, J. Rebecca Ryan, and the Judith Rothschild Foundation; Ann M. Vielehr Prize Fund, 2001.159. Courtesy of the Estate of Seymour Rosofsky and Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago.