Pleasure Through Drowning, Kihlberg & Henry

Pleasure Through Drowning
Kihlberg & Henry
27 June – 11 July 2015
Preview Friday 26 June 6 – late
Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry in conversation with Sophie J Williamson Wednesday 1 July 7pm

Having visited all of the cinemas on the island, there was one last place to visit, where a projection screen had been hung long ago by soldiers deep under water. As we descended below the surface, an 8-Ball our only physical memento, we realised that the cinemas we had visited during the day might no longer exist, that our submarine had not descended but that the water level had risen, flooding the island and its cinemas so that celluloid and other projection paraphernalia is carried around the streets by the flow, wrapping itself entangled on lamp posts, car wheels, blocking drains and choking birds and small children. Eventually the water, and the silty detritus that its calm but powerful flow carries, has clogged up the equipment and ruined the seats, damaging the images beyond repair. By the time we surface, we have already taken pleasure in the fact that it is too late, and that we have already drowned.

 – Excerpt from Pleasure Through Drowning (HD Video), Kihlberg & Henry, 2015


In this new film by Kihlberg & Henry, the bizarre reconditioning of the 32 cinemas of Portsea Island provides an apt location for a work that exists between fantasy and authentic reportage. For the filmmakers, this seemingly pre-existing slippage between the real and the constructed was further activated by an episode of teenage vandalism, which left the local archive flooded beyond use.

Subsequently a narrative lead by dérives musters a hauntological terrain. Existing tethers to reality remain secured only to unfettered anecdotal local aural history and sparse footage collected on the island in 2011. Images are notable by their absence; the few that exist are provoked to expose their fissures. An incessant pace flows, driven by a desire for an ideological placelessness; for a geography where the flood of images has not yet saturated, a desire that is subsumed under the infliction of the itinerants relentless thirst for images.

Pleasure Through Drowning Trailer from Kihlberg and Henry on Vimeo.


London based artists Karin Kihlberg & Reuben Henry work with moving image, performance, interdisciplinary research projects and publications. Past projects include the Great North Run Moving Image Commission 2012, residencies at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2011, Futura, Prague, 2007 and Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, 2006. Solo shows include Artsway, Hampshire, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, Gallery Box, Gothenburg, and Danielle Arnaud, London and group shows at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Fundació Miró, Mallorca, Tate Modern and the Hayward Gallery, UK. In 2015 Kihlberg & Henry completed a Master of Arts in Culture and Media Production through Vision Form at Linköping University, SE, and completed a two-year fellowship at the Jan van Eyck Academy, NL in 2011. Kihlberg completed an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths University, London, in 2013. Kihlberg is a founding member of Grand Union in Birmingham. Kihlberg & Henry are currently co-ordinating the Disembodied Voice Research Group supported by Vision Forum and Arts Council England. Kihlberg & Henry are represented by Danielle Arnaud. Selected video works are distributed by Filmform – The Art Film and Video Archive in Stockholm.

Sophie J Williamson is curator and writer based in London. She currently works at Camden Arts Centre, where she has realised ambitious exhibitions with international artists, including Kara Walker, Moyra Davey, Glenn Ligon, Jo Baer and Ben Rivers, as well as commissioning major new works by artists such as Ruth Ewan, Nina Canell and Emma Hart. From 2009, she was part of the founding team at Raven Row and has previously worked on a range of major international exhibitions, including the inaugural Singapore Biennale (2006), the Venice Biennale (2007) and the first Asia Triennial Manchester (2008), as well as a range of projects across Europe, Asia, the UK and online. She is a regular contributor to Art Monthly and other publications.


Pleasure Through Drowning references Kihlberg & Henry’s earlier film Afterimage, which was commissioned by Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, 2011