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| Not about Cinema | São Paulo

December 10, 2008

Cinema Sim – Narratives and Projections

Itau Cultural, Sao Paulo, December 2008

“Is not an exhibition about cinema, but rather about the idea and concept of cinema and how contemporary artists imbue their works with creative and aesthetic principles that hark back to the cinematic language and its means of expressionCurator Roberto Moreira S. Cruz.

lasmeninas_gifVideo Still from “89 seconds at Alcázar” by Eve Sussman and The Rufus Corporation. Photo: Eve Sussman and The Rufus Corporation

> Eve Sussman & Rufus Corporation’s 89 Seconds at Alcázar, inspired by the Western masterpiece Las Meninas painted in 1656 by the Spanish painter Diego Velasquez, is a fluid choreography that brings together visual atmosphere, performance and process. Shot in high definition digital video, a 360º Steadicam take reveals the entire scene in the salon of the Alcázar (Palace of the Hapsburgs). Fluid camera motion and choreography bring together an ensemble of visual atmosphere, performance, and a process. The work allows the eternal moment depicted in the painting to exist as a fleeting gesture, and continue as if the movement had occurred in daily life.

miltonMilton Marques, Untitled

Milton Marques focuses his work on experiences with digital video and other technological apparatus found in second-hand shops, such as optical elements, step motors, printers, copy machines, scanners, cameras and other mechanisms that are not useful anymore. The artist finds that it’s possible to imagine many new alternatives for those old objects as to create its little cinematic devices. To activate one of the pieces you have to insert a coin in a slot and the photos of a photographic film will (almost) appear to become animated inside a tiny tv-like screen. Because the whole mechanism is exposed, the spectacle is also present out of the screen.

renno4Menina, by Rosângela Rennó

> In Rosângela Renno’s Frutos Estranhos (Strange Fruits) 2006 each image are displayed inside a tilted portable DVD player as if it were a picture frame, presents what looks like a static image. “I think that my option for video—when it happens—it happens exactly because of the need for a special treatment of the narrative, which is denied or made difficult to achieve with photography due to its intrinsic characteristic of discontinuity. The continuity and fluidity of the narrative may be the elements I most seek in video.  Therefore, video would be, to me, a widened photograph, stretched in time. And that becomes even more evident in video projects where the narrative is not as important as the widening in time, as in Frutos Estranhos, for example.” Rosângela Rennó

mccallAnthony McCall, You and I, Horizontal III.  Installation view at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, 2007. Photograph Steven P. Harris

> Anthony McCall’s You and I, Horizontal (III) consists of a pair of three-dimensional forms of ‘solid light’, which emphasize the sculptural qualities of a light beam as it comes in contact with particles in the air, vapour from a haze machine. Anthony McCall is, without question, one of the seminal artists of American avant-garde cinema. His films and installations from the seventies such as Line Describing a Cone, Long Film for Four Projectors, and Four Projected Movements, represent an extraordinarily corporeal and sensuous meditation on the medium of film and the politics of the audience’s physical and conceptual relationship to it. All of these works took as their starting point the irreducible, necessary conditions of cinema: projected light, and real, three-dimensional space.

nowwait03Rachel Reupke’s Now Wait for Last Year (2007). Video still.

>Rachel Reupke’s Now Wait for Last Year (2007), by are artificial landscapes created in response to the rapid developments in the architecture of contemporary Beijing. The allegoric vision using digital image-composition resources was made whilst the artist whilst the artist was on an Arts Council fellowship in China. Reupke’s film takes us to futuristic scenery heavily characterized by nostalgia, resembling those postcard iconography and advertisements with fading hues from the 1950s.

hirakiHiraki Sawa’s  Going Places Sitting Down. Video still (watch video here)

> Hiraki Sawa’s Going Places Sitting Down is a three-screen colour video projection in which curious things happen in an apartment. ”A small, antique rocking horse appears repeatedly, endlessly rocking. In one scene it has multiplied into a herd that swims through oceanic waters in a bathtub. At other moments rocking horses plunge through the thick pile of a white carpet as if through deep snow; a little man riding an elephant ambles through, as if traversing a vast landscape; and antique sailing vessels navigate waters lapping the ends of rolled-up rugs. A hypnotic musical soundtrack of chiming instruments enhances the transporting mood.” Ken Johnson, NYT

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2008 1:21 pm

    Milton Marques’s piece looks intriguing. If cinema traditionally moves the viewer to believe briefly in a simulated reality – the suspension of disbelief theory- then Marques’s piece comments brilliantly on the undeniable reality of how that simulation is produced. Seeing where the projected image is coming from engages the imagination so much that maybe the projection itself isn’t the point: “… photos of a photographic film will (almost) appear to become animated inside a tiny tv-like screen.”

    And the idea of reusing outdated equipment appeals to my guilt about leaving an ugly electronic footprint for the future generations. What do we do with obsolescent machinery? This work provides one solution, as well as allowing us to see the workings of a very clever mind.

  2. December 21, 2008 1:36 pm

    Rosângela Renno’s Frutos Estranhos (Strange Fruits) captured my attention because I have spent a lot of my life talking about Cartier-Bresson’s famous “decisive moment” in still photography. I can’t tell exactly from the description what is the “widened moment, stretched in time” — does that mean the still image is appearing still on the dvd screen, yet of course constantly moving because of the nature of electronic imagining (a conceptual comment)? Or is there some slight movement (thus a narrative perhaps)? Or is it that the viewer is drawn to look for awhile, trained after all these years of looking at video art, searching to see some slight change (ala Thomas Struth hour long video portraits) and eventually realizing there will be no change, so therefore has unwittingly engaged in a widened moment? Just wondering. Funny how all this thinking came from the “decisive moment” that I see in the image of the girl performing a handstand, that most unnatural pose of being in a precariously, yes momentarily, reversed 180 degrees from “normal.”

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