In some ways, Eric Dyer
’s work is unlike anything else on the gallery scene today. In his
latest exhibition, “Copenhagen Cycles
,” at New York’s Ronald Feldman
, the artist marries some of the art world’s
most au courant
practices with a throwback to the 19th century, creating
an immersive portrait of a city that is entirely Dyer’s own.
The exhibition consists of three main
components. The first is a dizzying room of projected videos collaged from the
streets of Copenhagen. A street vendor’s hand places a sausage in and out of a
bun in an endless cycle; couples bike hand-in-hand through spring gardens; and
abstracted bicycle wheels swirl like pinwheels.
It is only upon entering the gallery’s second
space that the source of these images become clear. While kaleidoscopic
photographs from the city line the walls, 10 unusual devices sit on pedestals
in the center, each individually lit and featuring its own pair of blinking 3D
glasses. What at first appear to be tiny dioramas in the round, are actually an
updated take on the pre-cinematic device of the zoetrope, a spinning optical
toy once known as the “Wheel of the Devil” that allowed photographs to be
transformed into moving images.
The viewer is invited to press a button and put
on the glasses and suddenly the exhibition comes alive. As the platters on
which Dyer’s elaborate, handmade photo-collage zoetropes (made from intricately
cut inkjet prints pasted to foamboard) begin to speed up, a three-dimensional
image comes forward, in which bicyclists appear to be riding down city streets
and wind turbines swirl—the very images projected in the previous room, created
this time to be viewed in a personal screening for the viewer’s eyes only.
The series began in 2006, when Dyer began
riding his bicycle around the city, learning its nooks and crannies by taking
videos over the course of eight months. It was originally shown as a film, but
it is the zoetrope works that present an immersive vision of the city—and a
peek into the filmmaker’s toolbox created by looking back to a largely