Leigh Ledare

born 1976, Seattle
lives in New York City

Leigh Ledare’s 2017 feature-length film The Task screened in Transformer Station’s Crane Gallery during the FRONT preview exhibition (Grand Prototypes, Humble Tools) and once during the run of FRONT 2022. Shot by a film crew in a single room over several days, the camera observes real-life Tavistock group therapy participants as they work toward the abstract “task”

of articulating the conscious and uncon-

scious relationships between the people

in the room. As they negotiate their indi-

vidual positions and try to name complex

gender, class, and racial dynamics, they

are guided and sometimes thwarted

by a set of professional yet inscruta-

ble therapist-consultants. The film’s

climax, in which the artist steps out

from behind the camera to confront

the workshop participants—raising an

uproar about crossed boundaries that

ultimately leads to the consultants

leaving the room silently—raises ques-

tions about the power of art making to

intervene in and unexpectedly destabi-

lize social structures.

The Task played a particular role

during the early development of the

triennial’s concept: Tina Kukielski

proposed to Prem Krishnamurthy that

they watch the film and discuss. The

uncomfortable ending sparked long

discussions about how art can create

bumpy friction and subsequently served

as an early inspiration for the FRONT

2022 curatorial team as it negotiated

the complexities of Cleveland’s social

dynamics and its own group relations.

Without offering answers, Ledare’s

self-reflexive film makes the unequal

power relationships within society at

large more visible, offering tools for

confronting uncomfortable realities.

Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque

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