Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Volta Video from my phone!

One of the neat things about Volta is that galleries are allowed only one artist per installation. This makes it feel more like an exhibition and less like a trade show. From the viewer's perspective it certainly eases the fatigue of art-fair visual overload, and hopefully it presents the taste level of the gallery in a more accurate light which ultimately attracts longterm collector interest---right? This may have been the reasoning behind the galleries that chose to display, er, shall we say non-commodity oriented work.

There was a cool 'contraption' aesthetic to a lot of the work--and a lot of really great video installation pieces. Here is a look at some of them. I shot the video with my cell-phone which accounts for the appalling production values.

Ian Burns @ Spencer Brownstone

Ian Burns creates inventive, self-contained cinematic scene-generators made from kitchen-sink contraptions comprised of ironing boards, folding chairs, dirty plastic cups, electric fans, spy cameras and other off-the-shelf consumer junk. The sculptures are hilariously unwieldly mechanical assemblies that are notable in their use of plastic bags as a visual stand-in for arctic landscapes. Can you see the model plane 'flying' through the clouds?

Peter Sarkisian @ I-20

'Extruded Video Engine' is a rear-projection piece ingeniously mounted and seamlessly presented; it consists of hundreds of clips composited together to intelligently conform to the contours of a 3D vacuum-formed sculpture. It had a retro, slightly carnival-esque Dada feeling, like peering into the workings of a 50s sci-fi mechanism or behind the curtain of the Mighty Oz; the pistons, gears, and whirlygigs are obsolete gadgets that were allegedly filmed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Another crowd-pleaser here.

Pietro Sanguineti @ Nusser&Baumgart

These videos really caught my eye. Sanguineti incorporates the style of broadcast graphics to create time-based explorations of single word imperatives (which he also creates as text-based sculptures, see side); in the central, newest piece, he cuts snippets of computer-generated footage from video-games, commercials, and other sources to comment on the complex representations of 'nature' in our heavily mediated visual culture.

One more...

David Ellis @ Roebling Hall

Brooklyn action-graffiti painter David Ellis does a 180 from the Barnstormers work we know and love and presents these fascinating junkyard honky-tonk percussion sculptures. Tom Waits should be howling over them, I think. I didn't get a good shot of the clanging mound that the large bird is flapping in front of, but it's actually a giant craft-fair owl formed from beer bottles and metal mesh. The video loop is a teaser of an upcoming film of slow-motion paint spilling, I thought it was a long form computer rendering of fluid dynamics. Speaking of which, David is doing a week-long live painting performance at the Theory flagship store in the Meatpacking District, check it out til April 3rd.

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