Tag Archives: video still

Artist: Isabelle Cornaro, Art Historian Specialised

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Isabelle Cornaro, Paysage avec poussin et témoins oculaires (version II), 2009 and The Whole World is Watching, 2012

The work of Isabelle Cornaro evinces an interest in the way our perspectives are historically and culturally determined. Due to her training as an art historian specialised in 16th- and 17th-century Western art, her visual language is strongly associated with the forms and compositions of the past, ranging from Baroque and Classicism to Modernist abstraction. In her installations, casts and films, Cornaro plays with the possible meanings of everyday implements and artistic objects by placing them in a new context. Oriental rugs, Chinese porcelain, inherited jewellery; miniature landscapes, tautological objects and 16mm film.

Every now and then a single art work becomes associated with an artist in one’s mind and sticks there, obstinately refusing to cede its advantage no matter how sincerely one appreciates that artist’s entire output. Until recently, this has been the case, for me, with Isabelle Cornaro’s installation Paysage avec Poussin et témoins oculaires (version 1) (Landscape with Poussin and Eyewitnesses [version 1], 2008–9), which I first discovered in her 2008 exhibition at La Ferme du Buisson art centre in the Paris suburbs. Loosely based on a painting by Nicolas Poussin, this ‘landscape’ comprises a set of plywood pedestals of varying dimensions and tightly rolled, hung and unfurled oriental carpets, arranged according to rules of perspective and favouring a single point of view. Wandering into the three-dimensional interpretation of its two-dimensional art-historical ancestor, I discovered that the pedestals are topped with large cloisonné-patterned urns, smaller decorative items Cornaro calls ‘tautological objects’ because their forms mimic their functions (such as a duck egg-cup in the shape of a duck), as well as devices for measuring space and for aiding vision. In keeping with the perspectival organization, the size of these objects diminishes depending on their placement in the foreground, middle-distance or background. Cornaro’s accumulation of junk into the language of decoration, in a material that renders it sumptuous, suggests her faith in the innate, extraordinary power of things to endure and withstand the vagaries of how we look and see.

Cornaro uses scanning, photography and plaster casting as her methods of production. Through meticulous arrangements, she investigates the properties of objects and the historicity they can point to or steer away from. Homonyms (II) (2012), for example, are coloured plaster casts taken from soft materials such as laces, quilts and carpets. The misplaced use of colour and materiality of their new form alters their original identity and disrupts how these transformed objects are perceived. In the film, Money filmed from the side and a three-quarter view (2010), Cornraro portrays actual coins and Euro notes being transformed into abstract forms through the cinematic use of light and colour. The preoccupation with spatiality and light in the film brings currency’s aesthetic into the composition, stripping the importance of its monetary value. Cornaro creates differing landscapes in her work, welcoming new reflections on the ideology of object and space.

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Art: Arnar Asgeirsson

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Arnar Asgeirsson, Intersection #2, and Intersection, digital print, 50 x 65 cm, 2014

Arnar Ásgeirsson practice involves video works, animations, drawings, installations and sculptures with performative aspects deal with the queston of creative ownership, originality, the relation between high- and low art, reproduction and the differences between creating and copying.

Inserting objects as characters into new scenarios, creating the possibility of narratives to emerge. Believing that appropriated objects and re-produced items become works of art and shed light on their own history and their prior, current and future surroundings.

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Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, The Manhattan Love Suicides: Thrust in Me, 1985

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Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, The Manhattan Love Suicides: Thrust in Me, 1985, 35 mm, black-and-white, 35 minutes.

The Manhattan Love Suicides are a series of short films by Richard Kern: Stray Dogs, Woman At The Wheel, Thrust In Me and I Hate You Now.

“Stray Dogs” concerns an artist being followed thru the streets by an obsessive young man (a terrific David Wojnarowicz) who tries to gain his attention. He follows the artist back to his apartment and begins literally tearing himself apart in frustration – at this point the artist laughs at him and begins to sketch his dying body.

“Woman At The Wheel” follows a woman who takes her boyfriends (1 at a time) for a drive – but they only spark arguments and insist on taking the wheel. She eventually beats one of them senseless, and wrecks the car.

“Thrust In Me”, stars Nick Zedd as both the suicidal girl and her thrusting boyfriend. Includes a great cameratrick orgasm of monumental proportions.

“I Hate You Now” features Tommy Turner as a facially deformed drug dealer and Amy Turner as his girlfriend. The film repeatedly taunts the notion of “deformity and ugliness” before ending in a serious iron-burn and a barbell suicide.

Richard Kern (born 1954 in North Carolina) is a New York underground filmmaker, writer and photographer. He first came to underground prominence as part of the underground cultural explosion in the East Village of New York City in the 1980s, with erotic and experimental films featuring underground personalities of the time such as Lydia Lunch, David Wojnarowicz, Sonic Youth, Kembra Pfahler, Karen Finley and Henry Rollins in movies like The Right Side of My Brain and Fingered. Like many of the musicians around him, Kern had a deep interest in the aesthetics of extreme sex, violence, and perversion and was one of the leading lights of the movement which Nick Zedd coined the Cinema of Transgression.

Kern’s first dabbling in the arts was a series of self-produced underground magazines featured art, poetry, photography, and fiction by Kern and several friends. These hand-stapled and photocopied zines expressed the bleakness of New York City’s East Village in the early 1980s. Kern’s first zine was the bi-monthly “The Heroin Addict,” which was later renamed to “The Valium Addict.” About 12 issues of these two zines were produced, along with the occasional special issue. This phase of Kern’s career lasted from late 1979 to around 1983.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0273777/

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Artist: Mark Leckey

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Mark Leckey, From the Exhibition, See We Assemble, 2013

Mark Leckeyis a British artist, working with collage art, music and video. His found art and found footage pieces span several videos, most notably Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) and Industrial Lights and Magic (2008), for which he won the 2008 Turner Prize.

Through a multi-disciplinary practice that encompasses sculpture, sound, film, and performance, British artist Mark Leckey explores the potential of the human imagination to appropriate and to animate a concept, an object, or an environment. Drawing on his personal experiences as a London-based artist, who spent his formative years in the north of England, Leckey returns frequently to ideas of personal history, desire and transformation in his work.

Leckey was born in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in 1964. In a 2008 interview in The Guardian, he described how he grew up in a working-class family and became a ‘casual’ in his youth. He left school at 16 with one O Level, in art, and at 19 became obsessed with learning about ancient civilizations. In the Guardian interview he described himself as an autodidact, “That’s why I use bigger words than I should. It’s a classic sign.” Following a conversation with his stepfather he took his A Levels and went to an art college in Newcastle, but didn’t enjoy it: “It was the early 1990s, when critical theory had swept the nation. The place was full of hippies from down south who were reading Mervyn Peake and Tolkien, and suddenly they were made to read Barthes and Derrida. It was like a Maoist year zero. I became very suspicious of the merits of critical theory…”

Mark Leckey’s video work has as its subject the “tawdry but somehow romantic elegance of certain aspects of British culture.”He likes the idea of letting “culture use you as an instrument.” but adds that the pretentiousness that artists sometimes fall into is destructive to the artistic process: “What gets in the way is being too clever, or worrying about how something is going to function, or where it’s going to be. When you start thinking of something as art, you’re fucked: you’re never going to advance.” Matthew Higgs has described his work as “possess[ing] a strange nonartlike quality, operating, as it does, on the knife’s edge where art and life meet”.

On Pleasure Bent is a body of work in which Leckey attempts to form a kaleidoscopic memoir, assembling his past from the imagery that he believes conditioned him. The exhibition will include all new works, several being exhibited publicly for the first time. Objects will include LED screens featuring looped animations, animated screens made up of highly-magnified computer screens silk screened with images, as well as cinema lobby style ’standees’ and a trailer for a new video.

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Art: Ed Atkins, A Tumour (In English), 2010

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Ed Atkins, A Tumour (in English), video still, 2010

London-based artist Ed Atkins interest in high definition makes him a rarity in a landscape of video artists who work with antiquated 35mm and 16mm. Digital film is innately mysterious – it’s data in a box – but Atkins turns it into stuff you feel under your skin and in your gut. His work has a violent poetry, not least in the texts that accompany the films. His Death Mask series includes a Madame Tussaud film script ripe with gruesome details about the famed wax-sculptor’s trade in guillotined corpses. The body, illness and death are all major themes.

A Tumour (In English), is a case in point. Electronic blurs and booms, crazy drum rolls and bass thrums complement footage and special effects that conjure domes, moons, black spots and a wet red wrinkled orb that might be a cancerous blood cell. An animated digital mouth asks in a drugged, ominous voice: “Would you mind checking the mole on my shoulder? … Will you take a look, son?” before describing the “lonely juices bubbling beneath the crust”, “bone marrow, browned in the air”, and other haikus of bodily horror. In an accompanying book, the detail is relentless. It even promises to “conjure a tumour inside you”. Who says art can’t have a real-world impact?

Cadavers play a complicated role in Atkins’s work. Decaying bodies – smelly, soiled and solid; not to mention loaded with memories of those they leave behind – could not be further from the weightless digital realm. Yet he makes a ferocious attempt at closing the gap, pushing video and audio to visceral new extremes.

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