Carey Young: Palais de Justice

Towner presents the first UK exhibition of Carey Young’s critically-acclaimed video installation Palais de Justice (2017) which was filmed surreptitiously at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, an enormous and ornate 19th Century courthouse designed to depict law in terms of the sublime. Contradicting the familiar patriarchal culture of law, Young’s camera depicts female judges and lawyers at court. Sitting at trial, directing proceedings or delivering judgments, female judges are seen through a series of circular windows in courtroom doors.

Always shooting without permission, Young subtly builds a counter-narrative: a legal system seemingly centred on, and perhaps controlled by women, as if male presence may be optional or unnecessary in this particular future. Young’s camera becomes implicated, either caught within reflections, or through becoming noticed by some of her subjects. The windows and the camera’s lens are suggested as an interwoven series of oculi, in which we watch justice as performance and are ourselves implicated as witnesses and voyeurs. The piece considers the complex relationships between lenses, surveillance and ideas of framing or being framed, which are at the core of the law-related work Young has been developing for more than a decade.


You’re invited to a special event on Saturday 16 February, celebrating the launch of Carey Young: Palais de Justice and The Weather Garden: Anne Hardy Curates the Arts Council Collection, as well as Figure Study II, our director Joe Hill’s selection from the Towner Collection, and our new Ravilious Gallery and Collection Library and Art School programme.

In addition to all of our exhibitions being open until late, there will be chips and music in the bar followed a performance of John Cage’s Ryoanji by musicians from the London Contemporary Orchestra.

This launch event is free and open to everyone. No booking – drop in any time throughout the evening and bring your friends.


Travelling from London? Click here to reserve your free place on a bus from London to Towner. Mint Coaches-London Coach Hire will depart from Belvedere Road, London (coach parking near the London Eye) at 3.00pm. The coach will return to London from Towner Art Gallery at 9.00pm.


Image: Carey Young, still from Palais de Justice, 2017. Single-channel HD video (from 4K); 16:9, colour, quadraphonic sound; 17 mins 58 secs. © Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

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