Saturday, January 24, 2009

Narrowcast @ LACE

In 1986, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), a non-profit art gallery then located in Downtown Los Angeles held one of the first exhibits that truly embraced video art as a mature art form. The exhibit was called Resolutions: a Critique of Video art.

Since 1994 LACE is located on Hollywood Boulevard, but it's status as a place for new, innovative and sometimes even provocative art is the same. In the current exhibit Narrowcast: Reframing Global Video 1986/2008 we are revisited by five videos from Resolutions. These are combined with five newer videos from contemporary artists.

The oldest work in the show comes from the pioneer of video art; Bill Viola. Chott el-Djerid (1979) is a suggestive travel between the snow covered American Midwest and the Tunisian desert. The long, quiet studies of a landscape with the heat as a heavy mantel over the sand, alternatively the blinding sunlight reflected on white snow, is sometimes interrupted by a movement. A person trudging in the knee high snow, black clad people in the desert and cars that move in and out of the picture. Now and then you can hear the birds chirping or even the buzzing from a fly. It's beautiful, elusive and imaginative.

Mark Boulos piece All That is Solid Melts into Air (2008) consists of two videos that are projected across from each other. One video shows interviews with rebels from the Niger delta. They are fighting the government powers that are pillaging the lands oil resources. They sing and dance with their automatic weapons raised high above their heads, praying to the warrior God Egbisu to aid them in their fight. The other video shows agitated stock brokers that are dealing in oil bonds on the Chicago Stock Exchange. The body language, facial expressions and energy feels similar in the two films and even though there are big contrasts in the two surroundings there are similarities in the mens frenetic behaviour. The two videos create a visual circulation of necessity, greed, violence and enslavement.

It's an exciting exhibit with lots of interesting and fantastic work that chocks, amuses, and engages its audience. The 3 hours you will need in order to see all the work is truly worth it for a gaze into the history and the future of video art.

LACE can be found on 6522 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Open Wed-Sun 12PM-6PM, Fridays 12PM-9PM.
Show runs until March 1st.

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