Jeremy Shaw – Phase Shifting Index

25.09.2020 — 24.01.2021

Soft Opening: September 24, 2020, 7 – 10 pm

Press Conference at FKV: September 24, 2020, 11 am

The Frankfurter Kunstverein is pleased to present the German premiere of Canadian artist Jeremy Shaw’s latest and largest production, Phase Shifting Index (2020); a seven channel video installation that extends throughout the entire building.

Phase Shifting Index (2020) depicts seven autonomous groups engaged in embodied, movement-based belief systems that aspire to induce parallel realities. Employing various outmoded 20th-century media, ranging from 16mm film to Hi-8 video tape, Shaw presents what appears to be documentary footage as the distant future, creating cognitive dissonance within the viewers’ relation to a sense of place and time. The videos are narrated in the past-tense and delivered by a singular male voice in a style reminiscent of 20th century British ethnographic documentaries that detailed the practices and beliefs of foreign cultures. The dress, style and choreography of the subjects suggest found historical footage from the 1960s to the 1990s. The groups incorporate gestural elements that range a wide cross-section of codified subcultural and spiritual movements, from the analytical to somatic, and meditative to ecstatic. Through variations of modern dance, popping and locking, jump-style, hardcore skanking, and trust exercises, they explore the potentials of physically altering reality.

At the peak of the dramatic action, the films begin to come undone in an ecstatic chaos that lands the entire installation in a cross-temporal choreographic sync. The subjects of all films join together in a repetitive and cathartic dance set to a hypnotic musical track that unites the spaces into a pulsing, synchronized whole. This cohesive moment of dance spans across decades of time and media. Suddenly, all screens rupture in a meltdown of digital visual effects that consume the installation. Bodies tear apart, collide and pixelate as they move between screens and worlds, effectively devolving from a para-fictional documentary compilation to an immersive psychedelic art installation in an instant.

Jeremy Shaw (1977 North Vancouver, CA) works in a variety of media to explore altered states and the cultural and scientific practices that aspire to map transcendental experience. Often combining and amplifying strategies of verité filmmaking, conceptual art, music video and scientific research, he creates a post-documentary space in which disparate belief-systems and histories are thrown into an interpretive limbo. Shaw has had solo exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris, MoMA PS1, New York, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, and MOCA, Toronto, and been featured in international surveys such as the 57th Venice Biennale and Manifesta 11. Works of Shaw’s are held in public collections worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Tate Modern, London, and Sammlung zeitgenössische Kunst der Bundesrepublik.


Frankfurter Kunstverein presents Phase Shifting Index as part of Canada’s cultural program as Guest of Honor at Frankfurt Book Fair and is supported by the Canada Council for The Arts and the Canadian Government (Canadian Embassy in Berlin).

The work Phase Shifting Index was produced as a cooperation between Frankfurter Kunstverein and Centre Pompidou, Paris, Swiss Institute, New York and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.

The Frankfurter Kunstverein would like to thank KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin, London and Tokyo.

Frankfurter Kunstverein ist supported continously by the city of Frankfurt.

Kindly supported by Samsung The Wall and Mediativ, Stuttgart.