Stefan Lundgren Gallery is pleased to present Christopher Richmond’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, Double in brass. In it, Richmond presents Panthalassa and The Milky Way, two hour long films completed in 2015. In Panthalassa and The Milky Way, Christopher Richmond blows past story and the possibility of it in pursuit of a kind of glorious and quixotic quest for quantities of joy, experience, and frustration, close only to the measureless quantity to those things that can be experienced everyday in real life.
Panthalassa (2015) follows an eccentric cast sailing across an endless ocean at night. Hosting a series of prosaic otherworldly dialogues where dream and reality become confused, the two-channel film follows their process of dreaming their way out of the world, while simultaneously trying to maintain control of it. Marooned for some unexplained reason on a boat in an uncertain time and in an ocean where the sun never seems to rise, it is not this state of limbo itself that threatens; rather, it is some unknown and irresistible force that lurks just beyond. Dancing between two screens, the characters show a surprising capacity and predilection for irrational thinking and as the themes of the film change from one context to the next, the film takes on the form of a series of aborted tales. The narrative progress of the film is consistently suspended while the characters become involved in matters of confinement and the great unknown amidst a flourish of dance music.
In the 16mm film, The Milky Way (2015), an unnamed humanoid giant encounters an array of characters living on the margins of society who share their thoughts, impassioned soliloquies, and beliefs about the world with it. With a round, placid face and deep-set eyes that intimate intelligence, the creature looks like a primordial being, but is clearly a special effect. It is an analog effect that reflects back on both the apparatus of the camera and on celluloid film’s concrete and illusive qualities. It is an analog inside the analog – a silent figure that represents a series of figures that have appeared throughout cinematic history but generally stand for the absence of language. It is a symbol of silence. There is a good deal of talking around it but it remains quiet and all seeing. Traveling by car through a myriad of landscapes, The Milky Way’s off-kilter characters are brought together under circumstances that are in and of themselves a bit unusual. Something is amiss in this world. Travel seems to happen, but without a destination; it is like some sort of primeval wandering in the Western canon.
Christopher Richmond makes photographs, films and videos that challenge traditional story-telling conventions. By disrupting chronology, plot, and standard character development, Richmond invites the viewer to actively participate in the creation of meaning—to abandon the role of passive onlooker and become an active collaborator. Thematically, Richmond’s work explores the human condition, and his unconventional approach to narrative affords a range of alternate impressions. He has shown his work widely, including exhibitions and screenings in Los Angeles, New York, and Europe. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.