For his first solo exhibition with Lisson Gallery New York and to launch a second space in the city, British artist Haroon Mirza presented an installation highlighting his recent exploration of the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and light as experienced through the transformative use of psychotropic plants. ããã – Fear of the Unknown remix inaugurated Lisson Gallery’s new venue in New York, five blocks south of the gallery’s location under the High Line on 24th Street, which opened in May 2016.
Here is an excerpt of Mirza's speech for the opening: "I know there are lots of friends and supporters present here tonight so I just wanted thank you for being here and give a quick explanation as to why I’m not. ããã, Fear of the Unknown remix is a reflection on whats happening around us. The work suggests that something began with the attacks on the Twin Towers and concluded with the election of Trump.
In that 15 year period the world has completely changed and nobody knows what awaits. A discursive process began around the initial title for the work - a debate that reflected the wider polemic based on the fear, confusion and oppression experienced by people on both sides of the fence. The side that wants to build more fences and the side that wants to take fences down. I saw a startling yet poetic typographic symmetry in the dates of the attacks and the date that the results of the recent election came through. Both these events happened on US soil and New York City is of course central, however, the impact of these events spread like a tsunami worldwide. We are all effected. As a result we decided to change the title to what it is now.
My personal antidote to all that is going on is what nature and the human exploration of nature has to offer us and I take great comfort in being able to share that optimism through the forum of Lisson Gallery and their commitment to give artists a voice. Although I am honoured to inaugurate the the opening of Lisson’s second space in Chelsea, working closely with my partner and dear friend, Alex, my ideology related to freedom, social interaction, communication and political persuasion prevents me from being in New York tonight. Artistic expression is us under threat so I’m compelled to take a stand. I am not an American nor am I a practicing Muslim - in fact now, I even have trouble calling myself British. What I am sure is that I am exactly the same as you: nothing but a unique node of consciousness in the vastness of our known physical universe, which I believe, extends to a non-physical universe too."