Karanjit Panesar

Actor, Container

20 November – 19 December 2020



Two Queens is delighted to announce the presentation of a newly-commissioned film by Leeds-based artist Karanjit Panesar: Actor, Container.

The work comes out of an ongoing investigation into the relationship between insides and outsides, a fascination with the idea of ‘behind-the-scenes’, and what these things can tell us about truth, agency and authenticity.

The film uses a narrative structure called a ‘strange loop’; a device that involves multiple levels of reality that are nested inside each other. Strange loops are often found in stories of time travel and the supernatural, and usually result in paradoxes and general confusion.

Actor, Container follows characters Saaj and Chandni, who are pulled between these kinds of levels, only to wind up back where they started. It is a recurring dream in tandem.

Saaj wakes up in Chandni’s car. They go to the supermarket. They make some dinner. They recognise Chandni in a live streamed anti-capitalist radio show which Saaj calls in to. Saaj forgets his lines. The director calls cut. They wander around the film set. Saaj dances, trips, falls, and wakes up in Chandni’s car.

I have been thinking a lot about agency and control. How much agency someone has in the world, especially when they are trapped in a massive structure that they can’t even comprehend. We are tangled up in these sorts of systems, in the same way that Saaj and Chandni are tangled in the structure of the film itself.

Containers are full of content, or empty of content. The film set is filled with action. The screen is filled with images. The body is full of food.

This exhibition is the second in a programme of four exhibitions and related events at Two Queens between Autumn 2019 and Winter 2020, with the aim of evaluating the ways we use language when making and talking about contemporary art. The programme is made possible by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and De Montfort University.