A CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE DEVOTED TO THE MOVING IMAGE
Works by Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima
Opening June 23rd
Runs through Sept 18, 2017
Coinciding with the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Young Projects is proud to present Verso, the first solo show in Los Angeles by the Brazilian artists Motta & Lima. Verso will be one of three shows the artists will be involved in over the course of the year. The others are Video Art in Latin America at LAXART, curated by Glenn Phillips and Elena Shtromberg, and Siggraph 2017.
Throughout their career Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima have explored a wide array of mediums in their multifaceted practice including video, photography, installation and performance. More often than not their work explores the tension between the physical and the digital; the everyday and the historical; representation and the actual.
If there are common themes that crop up time and again, they’re often tied to notions of agency, the self and the body—often with direct references to performance traditions, ethnography and socio-political concerns. However, as the work in Verso suggests, Motta & Lima are also interested in the ways in which specific technologies are used to convey these same ideas, often complicating and disrupting various relationships.
As in many of their works, Duplo Singular (2015), uses two video screens to present two children, one per screen, as they play in an outdoor park. One can at first see echoes of Ernie Gehr’s landmark experimental film, Serene Velocity (1970) as the camera continually pulls back further and further. Yet, if Gehr hoped to underscore the materiality of film itself with his practice, where it “affirms its own presence as image” as he remarked, Motta & Lima push the camera even further still. In their work the process is created by a satellite point of view, which not only literalize the notion of distanciation but draws connections to the military and other predatory sensibilities.
Similarly, Calar (2011) which also shows two figures, one per screen, uses a heat sensitive thermo camera to record the gestures of the two as they touch (and perhaps attack) each other. Here the technology, which is so fundamental to nighttime warfare, allows us to literally see the imprints of their relationship on each other’s skin. For critic Paulo Miyada this video work suggests “an almost scientific exploration of how, and with what intensity, one body invades another.”
Other works use newer technologies to add to ideas expressed in art-historical contexts, even though the technologies used by the artists are often inexpensive and common. Their Contra Duchamp (2013) for example uses a series of small LED boards to show various chess games played by Marcel Duchamp in the 1920s with some of his contemporaries. These works (21 in all), reproduce each chess move via a blinking light and animation. But more than an exact representation of the matches themselves, the artists prefer to focus on “the artist as a player”, where battle becomes a primary trope.
Other works still use fluorescent tubing and motorized mechanisms to recreate large-scale sea-scapes; 3-D files hacked from video games to fabricate weapons; and small projections and rotors to recreate nature. Through it all, explains critic Andre Brasil, “is a distinctly lyrical, often poetic sensibility that is at the same time disconcerting, fantastic and paradoxical.”
Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima, were born in 1976 in São Paulo where they live and work. Since the late 1990s when they began working as an artistic duo, they’ve received dozens of awards, solo exhibitions and residencies from institutions worldwide. That includes being finalists in the Nam June Paik Award in Germany; winning the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation prize in Miami; and winning a commission prize from Itaú Cultural at the Vancouver Biennale in Canada. Their work has also appeared at the Havana Biennial; the SESC Pompéia, São Paulo; KAdE Kunsthal in Amersfoort, Holland; the CCBB, Rio de Janeiro; and the Kulturhuset Museum, Stockholm.
The works included in Verso, at Young Projects, including a new work made specifically for Verso, Duplo Singular (2015), Contra Duchamp (2013), Espera (2013), Calar (2011), Anti-Horário (2011), Voce Para (2008), IED (2007), Lotus 01 (2003)