Programme Exhibitions Past Exhibitions Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller: Spaghetti Junctions Preview: Thursday, 14 April 2011 Exhibition: 15 April - 28 May 2011 Curated by Fiona Parry Cubitt Gallery presents the first UK solo exhibition by Swiss artists Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller. Through performance, video, sculptural-recreation, text and archive material, Hemauer and Keller explore two short-lived experiments with solar energy, both marking points of change or crisis in the history of oil consumption. Sun of 1913 (2009) looks back to the first commercial-scale solar power plant, which American engineer Frank Shuman built in Maadi near Cairo in 1913. In Egypt under British mandate for a short period solar energy was an economic form of power generation, cheaper than shipping coal from Britain. However, the plant ceased operation after one year, at the onset of World War I, as the British Government began mass-scale crude oil production in Iran, precipitating a widespread turn to oil. The story of Shuman’s solar plant is told through a narrative written with Egyptian writer Wageh George. A video projection shows the reconstruction of two segments of the plant by the artists and craftsmen in Cairo. A Curiosity, a Museum Piece and an Example of a Road not Taken (2006-2007) investigates former American president Jimmy Carter’s pioneering but ultimately futile energy programme. It culminated in his symbolic solar installation on the White House roof during the 1979 energy crisis, which was removed by the Ronald Regan administration. At Cubitt, Hemauer and Keller focus on the solar installation at the point of greatest potential: its design, construction and ceremonial launch. Archive contact sheets show the panels being installed. Carter’s speech inaugurating them – calling America to break its addiction to imported oil – can be read from a sculptural recreation of a presidential lectern and will be performed during the exhibition opening. Using re-creation and re-enactment to revitalise the optimism of these pioneering projects, Hemauer and Keller also highlight the time that has since lapsed; that these were “roads not taken”. They revisit episodes in the history of oil and solar energy to ask questions about the present energy situation: increased dependence on, and continued conflict over, fossil fuels. Since 2003 the focus of their research-based practice has been the concept of energy as a defining force of modern society, including works and performances that herald the post-petroleum age and map the relationship between the history of energy and modern art. Christina Hemauer (born 1973 Zurich, Switzerland) and Roman Keller (born 1969 Liestal, Switzerland) live in Zurich, Switzerland. Recent exhibitions include United Alternative Energies, Centre for Contemporary Art, Aarhus, Denmark, curated by Latitudes (2011) and the 11th Cairo International Biennale, Cairo (2009).