EXPO CHICAGO 2016: EXPO VIDEO
EXPO VIDEO highlights a selection of dynamic and cutting-edge film, video, and new media works by artists selected from 2016 Exhibitors. The works on view are presented in a variety of screening formats including two large-format screening rooms, as well as several viewing stations designed by Studio Gang Architects.
EXPO VIDEO Curator | Daria de Beauvais — Palais de Tokyo
The 2016 program will be curated by Daria de Beauvais and will highlight some of the most exciting film, video and new media works being made today. Before taking on the role of curator at the Palais de Tokyo, de Beauvais worked with various institutions including the Biennale and Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Independent Curators International (ICI), New York; as well as galleries such as Zlotowski, Paris; Alessandra Bonomo, Rome; and Lili Marleen, New York. She is also a freelance curator, regularly sits on various juries and writes for a number of publications. De Beauvais’s recent exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo include Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, "acquaalta," 2015; "Inside", co-curated with Jean de Loisy and Katell Jaffrès, 2014; and Julio Le Parc, 2013. For her 2016 exhibition program at the institution, she is doing a focus on video, with a site-specific commission made to Shana Moulton (February – September, 2016) and an important solo exhibition of Mika Rottenberg (June – September, 2016). De Beauvais holds an MA in History of Art and an MA in Curatorial Studies, both from the Sorbonne University in Paris.
De Beauvais follows past EXPO VIDEO curators Alfredo Cramerotti (2015) | independent curator and Director of MOSTYN (Wales, United Kingdom); Astria Suparak, (2014) | artist and independent curator; and Dean Otto (2013) | Program Manager of the Film/Video Department at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center.
The yellow wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper—a short story published by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892—is an important early work of American feminist literature that depicts a young woman’s descent into psychosis. Kept in her bedroom by her husband after a postpartum depression, the room’s yellow wallpaper soon becomes her only horizon and obsession; what will lose her and save her at once. This nineteenth century text, written in the form of a journal, is full of mythological references and archetypal images, one being the descent into the underworld – namely into one’s own psyche. It shows the limits of a woman’s life supposedly dedicated to her domestic surrounding, and the oppression of a patriarchal society.
The works included in this program are a testimony to women’s struggles to escape their fate. From Camille Henrot’sDying Living Woman (2005) to Aïda Ruilova’s Goner (2010), no retreat seems possible; while Patty Chang’s Falling at 1120 ft above sea level (2000) and Susan MacWilliam's Faint (1999) show a repeated loss of reference points. The films within the screening room create a narrative that is extended onto two single-monitor stations positioned nearby in the fair. One station highlights the many figures that a woman can personify. In Alex Bag’s hilarious and DIY Untitled Project for the Andy Warhol Museum (1996), the artist embodies many characters, questioning the place of women and their representation in contemporary society. Similarly, Anna Barham’s Iris (2011) interrogates the image of beauty through an alternation of rapidly changing vivid flowers, classical paintings, and antique sculptures. In another station, dedicated to our relationship with nature, Laure Prouvost’s Into All That Is Here (2015) progresses from eeriness to well-being and eroticism in an ode to life, while Desiree Dolron’s Uncertain, TX (2016) evokes a silent and endless swamp landscape—stunning but deadly.
The eight works selected for this program span over two decades, from 1996–2016, showing the evolution of video art and the experimentation of many techniques (from scratched film to 16mm to digital technologies) while sharing the quality of timeless masterpieces. In all these works, the characters depicted—even when they appear as victims at first glance—always fight back to regain what they fear losing the most; be it their equilibrium, their life, or their soul. Each video within The Yellow Wallpaper can be regarded as a kind of archaeological journey, considered here (after Freud) as a metaphor for the exploration of the unconscious, that is, amongst other things, the creative resource of individuals—be they artists or viewers.
—Daria de Beauvais
Screening Room 1 (in order of appearance):
- Camille Henrot, Dying Living Woman (2005) | KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin and kamel mennour, Paris
- Patty Chang, Falling at 1120 ft above sea level (2000) | ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles
- Aïda Ruilova, Goner (2010) | Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles
- Susan MacWilliam, Faint (1999) | CONNERSMITH., Washington DC
- Alex Bag, Untitled (Project for the Andy Warhol Museum) (1996) | team (gallery, inc.), New York
- Anna Barham, Iris (2011) | Arcade, London
- Desiree Dolron, Uncertain, TX (2016) | Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam
- Laure Prouvost, Into All That Is Here (2015) | Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, Brussels and carlier | gebauer, Berlin
To think is to enter the Labyrinth
The human mind is a complex territory; a delicately assembled architecture. For thousands of years, it has been compared to a labyrinth—the works included in this section of EXPO VIDEO are dedicated to the figure of Daedalus; in Greek mythology the creator of the legendary labyrinth where the Minotaur was kept prisoner.
Four videos are presented in Screening Room 2, beginning with Susan Hiller’s Resounding (Infrared) (2013), which features sounds and voices testifying about several unexplained phenomena, followed by Michael Robinson’s Mad Ladders (2015), associating vintage TV shows with otherworldly monologues in a psychedelic loop. Mary Reid Kelley’sPriapus Agonistes (2013) is part of a trilogy about the myth of the Minotaur, presented here as female, humorously mixing characters ‘escaped’ from Ancient Greece with elements from contemporary popular culture and questions the notion of fate. In Jesper Just’s It Will All End in Tears (2006), strange human relationships take place in an artificial Chinese garden, a court in closed session and the roof of a Brooklyn, New York, building.
One of the accompanying stations evokes the figure of Proteus, a Greek divinity able to read into the future and to metamorphose himself endlessly. Anna Braham’s eponymous video (2010) plays with letters, creating absurd anagrams that sometimes achieve pure poetry. Alternatively, Miguel Angel Rios’ Piedras Blancas (2014) features more than 3,000 handmade white cement balls rolling down the arid, mountainous landscapes of Argentina and Mexico—the hypnotic work has a strong political subtext, questioning the migratory and economic crises the world is currently facing. On another monitor, Pierre Bismuth invites us to follow The Right Hand of Sigmund Freud (2013). The artist captures the hand movements of the famous psychoanalyst in a rare film clip of him talking, tracing his gestures with a marker in real time, and consequently creating a labyrinth drawing. Brice Dellsperger’s long-term project Body Double, started in 1995, consists of the reenactment of scenes taken from movies marking the history of cinema. For Body Double 23 (After The Black Dahlia) (1997), he chose The Black Dahlia by Brian De Palma, showing the “mise-en-abyme” of a female comedian (the Black Dahlia herself) playing a casting scene.
Daedalus enables us to meander through these artists’ minds; their fascination for themes such as mythology, language, politics, or the afterlife transports us into parallel universes, while simultaneously driving us back into reality. The program is a testament to the importance of the unknown, and the necessity of keeping some mystery in our lives. The center of the labyrinth has less value than our erring ways to reach it, through the richness of one’s inner life—as French artist Jean-Michel Alberola states in one of his famous wall-paintings: “The exit is inside.”
—Daria de Beauvais
Screening Room 2 (in order of appearance):
- Susan Hiller, Resounding (Infrared) (2013) | Lisson Gallery, London
- Michael Robinson, Mad Ladders, (2015) | Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago
- Mary Reid Kelley, Priapus Agonistes (2013) | Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles
- Jesper Just, It Will All End in Tears (2006) | Galerie Perrotin, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul
- Miguel Angel Rios, Piedras Blancas (2014) | Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco
- Anna Barham, Proteus (2010) | ARCADE, London
- Pierre Bismuth, Following The Right Hand of Sigmund Freud (2009) | team (gallery, inc.), New York
- Brice Dellsperger, Body Double 23 (After The Black Dahlia) (1997) | team (gallery, inc.), New York
Additional EXPO VIDEO Programming
In addition to presenting EXPO VIDEO on the main floor of Festival Hall, EXPO CHICAGO has partnered with select international organizations to broaden the reach of moving image work, including an inaugural partnership with London’s Daata Editions to launch new artists editions in the EXPO CHICAGO VIP Collectors Lounge Presented by Northern Trust; the presentation of a world-premiere and screening of Italian artists through a partnership with Lo Schermo dell’Arte, the world’s largest cinema and art festival based in Florence, to take place in Chicago during EXPO ART WEEK; and a special presentation of EXPO VIDEO to align with the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale though Zuecca Project Space at Spazio Ridotto, focusing on the intersection between film and architecture.