01.24.2004

Smack Melon — Multiplex

Topic(s): Exhibition | No Comments

Date/Time: 24/01/2004 12:00 am


MULTIPLEX
revisioning the movie house in a new 3 story cineplex at Smack Mellon
Curated by Eve Sussman and Kathleen Gilrain. Design Consultant: Chris Doyle
NOW SHOWING:
Ayreen Anastas, Phyllis Baldino, Sadie Benning, Mathieu Borysevicz, Harrell
Fletcher Neil Goldberg, Johan Grimonprez, Katarzyna Kozyra, Megan Michalak,
Shannon Plumb
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Chris Sollars, Julian Stark
Exhibition Dates: January 24 – March 7, 2004
Artists’ Reception: Saturday, January 24, 6-9 PM
Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 12-6 PM
Smack Mellon
56 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
gallery 718-834-8761 office 718-422-0989
www.smackmellon.org
LIFE DURING WARTIME STOP COUP’DE ÉTAT IN THE MULTIPLEX STOP ARTISTS TAKEN OVER HOUSE STOP PROJECTION BOOTHS SQUATTED STOP FILM SCHOOL DOGMA, TAKE COUNTER TAKE, CU, LS, OUT THE WINDOW STOP THERE IS A CLATTER AND HUSH, THE PROJECTORS HUM WITH A NEW MOTION PICTIURE PARADIGM …
With this premise Eve Sussman (film/video artist – 2004 Whitney Biennial
pick) and Kathleen Gilrain (sculptor and Executive Director – Smack Mellon)
have organized and built MULTIPLEX, their riff on the mainstream movie
paradigm and the department store architecture of the contemporary cinema
space.
Using the theme of the multi-layered movie house the gallery has been
transformed. Built into Smack Mellon’s cavernous 40’ clerestory space is a
3-story high multi-tired structure of platforms joined by ramps that allow
both the artists and the audience to take advantage of the entire volume of
the gallery.
Within this architecture the curators have created a comprehensive mix of
video work from historic to satiric to fantastic. Gilrain and Sussman have
chosen works that re-envision the cliché’s of cinema referencing film genres
i.e.: war movie, documentary, love story, myth, comedy, sci-fi, sports film,
teaching films, through the means of low budget video art.
Mundanity as “poetic verité” is especially prevalent in a number of works
that engage daily life to communicate classic themes. Among the most
telling juxtapositions is the relationship between artists who work with
seemingly peaceful imagery of daily life and those whose work is everyday
‘life during wartime’. What is interesting is how the ‘twain shall meet’.
Whether it’s the poetry inherent in the streets of New York in the work of
Neil Goldberg or the participants in the Senior Center in Harrell Fletcher’s
Problem of Possible Redemption or the essential moment in Mathieu
Borysevicz’ KFOR of a boy playing with an empty piggy bank among the ruins
of Kosevo, or Ayreen Anastas’ m* of Bethlehem shot in Palestine during
curfew while she reads definitions from the O.E.D., all of these works
elevate dailiness. These pieces address the mundane aspects of both war and
peace; the filmic poetry of daily struggle communicated with a deadpan
documentary style.
Katarzyna Kozyra and Johan Grimonprez have imagery from both real and
fictitious violent crimes. Kozyra hangs out with pyromaniacs who blow things
up for fun, in the back woods of Poland in Punishment and Crime, while
Grimonprez gorgeously tells the history of hijacking, before September 11,
in D I A L H I S T O R Y, (an internationally renowned work, rarely shown in
the U.S.). Another not-fit-for-The History Channel is Karina Aguilera
Skvirsky’s Margaret. Focusing on Margaret Okayo’s (Kenya) 2001 NYC marathon
victory run, the work is created from excerpted and manipulated live TV news
coverage that is juxtaposed with a the ‘female voice-over comprised of
appropriated 17th century travelogues of Europeans’ “discovery” of New York.
In the category of “boys-who-play-dress-up” Julian Stark, Chris Sollars and
Shannon Plumb (okay, she’s a girl) excel. Stark as a spandex wearing
Hercules, Sollars as Björn Börg in a skirt and Plumb in a myriad of thrift
store get-ups are the solo stars in their own works, as is Megan Michalak
whose efforts to defy gravity are a throw back to junior high science
flicks. Both Plumb and Michalak share a comedic silent film approach –
Michalak harping back to slapstick and Plumb to Chaplin and Keaton. Sadie
Benning’s Flat is Beautiful, is known for its costume of choice, the
homemade cardboard mask. Her piece is the sole love story in the exhibition.
Phyllis Baldino’s Baldino Neutrino will have its world premiere in MULTIPLEX
and is the homage to science fiction in the show. In 2003 Baldino gained
access to the highly classified Super Proton Synchrotron tunnel at CERN, 20
stories underground in Geneva, in order to try to become a neutrino herself
and take the 2.5 milliseconds journey 454 miles to Gran Sasso, Italy. To
undergo this transformation Baldino speeds through the proton tunnel until
she is spit out as a neutrino on her way to Italy. We watch the entire
journey.

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