Still Film

Sandra Gibson + Luis Recoder

Opening Reception March 24 - 5pm - 9:30 pm

 

March 24 – May 28, 2016

 

Young Projects is pleased to present the first solo gallery exhibition of the film installations of Sandra Gibson + Luis Recoder on the West Coast. Entitled Still Film, the exhibition coincides with a one-week residency at Cal Arts and a dual 35mm projection performance, Dark Chamber Disclosure, presented at REDCAT on Monday March 14th.

 

Steeped in the structural-materialist tradition of formalist film practice, Gibson + Recoder have long focused on the immediacy of their analogue medium with special emphasis on the agencies of shuttered light, the plasticity of flexible celluloid ribbon, and the spatial and temporal conditions of the cinematic apparatus. In the process they have earned a reputation as being the “most celebrated practitioners of expanded cinema” according to the Viennale, Austria’s most celebrated film festival.

 

In the 1960s “expanded cinema” gained extraordinary momentum among contemporary artists using film, often spawning a dizzying array of divergent practices: from the overwhelming, collage-based practice of Stan VanDerBeek and Robert Rauschenberg, where dozens of projections would be mounted simultaneously, to the absolute evacuation of film and even projection altogether in the work of Anthony McCall, Nam June Paik and a number of Fluxus artists. For Gibson + Recoder, however, the radical aspirations and achievements of the avant-garde cinema to cast itself in the role of what art historian Rosalind Kraus classifies as “sculpture in the expanded field” is a tendency long anticipated in the very idea of cinema as kinesis: the movement and migration out of and away from the fixed forms of stasis, inertia, immobility. Their conceptual prototype for recasting cinema in the expanded field is contemporaneous with the inauguration of its invention and epitomized by the Lumière Cinematograph as the cinematographic manifold of motion picture camera, magic lantern film projector, and printing machine. In brief, the cinematic as the artificial synthesis in the assemblyline of production, post-production, and exhibition – or, the ever-expanding consciousness of the so-called film industry in its nascent state.

 

Gibson + Recoder’s film installations and projection performances combine the decommissioned technique of the film industry’s theatrical presentation with the modernist distopias of medium-specificity and self-reflexivity. The artists have explained that their meditation on the brute materialism of their materials and attendant machinery is productive only and insofar as the “things themselves” dialectically reverse via the paradoxical nature of their intermittent apparatus. “Film is not film,” say the artists. “It is everything that is when reduced to the sheer nothingness of nothing but film. When you are left with nothing but film or when it leaves you with nothing but (what) remains, in the utter nothingness of nothing you reach into the impalpable void. Call it the immateriality of the material […]”

 

All the installations in the exhibition are “frozen tableaux of motion picture phenomena,” or simply put: Still Film. One of their best known sculptural works, Light Spill (2005), is a still life of a modified 16mm projector that empties its reel of film onto the gallery floor. During the course of the exhibition, what seems like an endless sinuous pile of glistening perforated acetate plasticities cascades and floods the exhibition space. In a more recent work, Transparency (2013), the protective covers of a 16mm projector have been removed so that the supporting frame chassis and electro-mechanical components are exposed and viewable from behind a molten crystal window. The exposed lamp projects a large-scale and imperceptible motion picture of its own ever-shifting color temperature spectra, producing an extremely long exposure that can only terminate when the bulb blows out. These and other premiere works, including a series of watercolors titled The Spell of Film, unspool the interminable paradoxes, contradictions, and ambiguities that the artists entertain in their latest statement drafted exclusively for this exhibition, titled Still Film / Still Life:

 

STILL FILM  / STILL LIFE

 

STILL: NOT OR HARDLY MOVING; AN ORDINARY STATIC PHOTOGRAPH (AS OPPOSED TO A MOTION PICTURE); WITHOUT MOVING (STAND STILL); EVEN NOW OR AT A PARTICULAR TIME (THEY STILL DID NOT UNDERSTAND); NEVERTHELESS; EVEN; YET; INCREASINGLY (STILL GREATER EFFORT); MAKE OR BECOME STILL; STILLNESS; STILL LIFE. STALL: THE STALLING OF AN ENGINE (THE CONDITION RESULTING FROM THIS); REACH A CONDITION WHERE THE SPEED IS TOO LOW TO ALLOW EFFECTIVE OPERATION OF THE CONTROLS; CAUSE (ENGINE) TO STALL; PLAY FOR TIME WHEN BEING QUESTIONED; DELAY; OBSTRUCT. STILL STALL: REACHING A CONDITION WHERE THE SPEED IS TOO LOW TO ALLOW EFFECTIVE OPERATION OF THE CONTROLS, CAUSING THE ENGINE TO STALL SO AS TO NOT OR HARDLY MOVE. THE CAUSALITY AND CASUALTY OF A STAND STILL. AN ORDINARY STATIC STILLNESS AS OPPOSED TO A MOTION STALLING. NEVERTHELESS, AND WITH INCREASINGLY AND STILL GREATER EFFORT, A HARDLY MOVING AND YET EFFECTIVE OPERATION IN OPPOSITION TO A MOTION PICTURE. TO DELAY EVEN NOW OR AT A PARTICULAR TIME A WITHOUT MOVING PLAY FOR TIME OBSTRUCTING THE OPPOSITON.

 

Sandra Gibson + Luis Recoder live and work in New York. Their film-based installations and performances have exhibited internationally at museums, galleries, and festivals such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Madison Square Park Conservancy, The Kitchen, Performa, Microscope Gallery, REDCAT, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, Exploratorium, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Ballroom Marfa, Sundance Film Festival, Tate Modern, PLASTIK, Viennale, HMKV, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Courtisane, BOZAR, M HKA, STUK, TENT, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Atelier Impopulaire, RIXC, 25FPS, CCCB, Museu do Chiado, Solar Galeria de Arte Cinemática, Centro de Memoria, and the Serralves Foundation. Gibson + Recoder are represented by Robischon Gallery. 

WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

The Spell of Film (2013)

35mm projector, film rollers, film loop, hardware, dimensions variable

Special thanks to Jere Guldin for the 35mm projector.

Reduction Print (2014)

16mm projector, film, reels, sculpting tool, hardware,edition 1/3.

Remarks On Film (I, II, III) 2015

Acrylic on masonite board, 12” x 12,”

Threadbare (2013-2016)

16mm projector, film, reels, edition 3/3

The Spell of Film (I, II, III) 2015

Watercolor on paper, 18” x 24,”

Dust Cover (Eiki Sound) 2012

Vinyl dust cover, turntable, hardware.

Light Spill (2005-2016)

Modified 16mm projector, film, screen, dimensions variable.

Transparency 2013

Modified 16mm projector, glass, frame, (projection dimensions variable), edition 1/3.

Reflexion 2016

16mm projector, mirror, paint, Plexiglas & wood pedestal,edition 1/3.