Videos 1: Bivouac at Vox

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Bivouac at Vox Populi is dominated by videos. Visiting curator Fionn Meade has brought together an international group of artists for the exhibit, with work that also includes prints and drawings and installation.

Meiro Koizumi's video Craftnight, 2008
Meiro Koizumi’s video Craftnight, 2008

Given the greed and militarism that is dominating the news these days, I found myself especially interested in the videos about cruelty and detachment and invisible forces in control. Videos by Meiro Koizumi, Sung Hwan Kim, and Anna Molska include performance, stark interiorscapes, and psychological tension. Harold Pinter’s Dumbwaiter or Beckett’s Waiting for Godot both come to mind.

Koizumi’s Craftnight is a 15-minute video focused on a man made up in Goth whiteface, black eye makeup and a red drip of “blood.” He is trying to copy a sculpture out of a wad of clay as a voice-over asks probing questions about his relationship with his father. The agitation of the unhappy, inept craftsman increases as the questions probe and repeat. The clay is hopelessly lumpy, yet Freudian in its forms. (I also liked Koizumi’s Snow White images, with acrylic on magazine pages highlighting overwrought draperies. The printing peeks through what is essentially an acrylic mask (some of it looked kind of like it might be collaged, but I wasn’t sure), and the results are disjunctive and surreal and uncomfortable–yet beautiful).

Sung Hwan Kim, Dog Video, 2006
Sung Hwan Kim, Dog Video, 2006

Sung Hwan Kim’s Dog Video includes a performance of two men in masks playing a man and a dog. The domination/subjugation in this video too is unhappy and weird, isolated in a virtually empty space.

Anna Molska, Tanagram, 2006/07, video
Anna Molska, Tanagram, 2006/07, video

And Molska’s Tanagrama shows a couple of buff guys in padded g-strings and padded helments pushing around furniture-size tangram-like foam blocks. When they are done arranging the tangrams into shapes, they take a self-congratulatory rest, lying down on the floor in classic sunning style. The outfits (or lack thereof) veers between video game gladiators and homosexual domination games. We are put into a governmental control environment–a cross between military discipline and educational methods gone wrong. Even without the context of the source material, the film stands up as an indictment of the totalitarian state.

These three videos of people in bizarre costumes performing required but nonesensical tasks make a nice grouping, and the human theatrical presence in them makes for good watching.

The show also includes more literal work by Alex Hubbard, Sara VanDerBeek, Steve Roden and Lucy Raven.

Tags

anna molska, bivouac, meiro koizumi, sung hwan kim, vox populi gallery

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