Physicology celebrates moving image as a non- filmic event. One that isn’t rooted in the narrative or governed by conventional vehicles of meaning that are ‘told’. Yael Schmidt, Sean Branagan and Cecile Wesolowski have created work that provides an encounter more tangible. None of this work uses a monitor (in this case a creative dead-end) and none of this work is projected onto the customary screen - allowing post-production decisions to include more than just editing the film. The works are finished in the real world; they occupy actual space and have a physicality that engages our wider perceptions.
Cecile Wesolowski has a diverse practice. Previously seen here in 2009 as part of the ‘A One Night Stand with...’ programme where she presented ‘I Play Bach’ - a video of a performance that was projected onto scrunched up silver foil, creating ‘real space’ distortions to the image. This time we are showing her piece ‘60bpm’ a visually and aurally rhythmic and repetitive piece which is projected from the ceiling onto black sand on the floor, where image and material merge so that the precision and definition of the image is dissolved and blended within the granules of sand.
Sean Branagan’s work forces a collision and synthesis of different elements from painting, sculpture, architecture and moving image. Projectors positioned on brackets, hovering just above and in front of the small ‘units’ that hold the image are visible and integral to the work - a decision that over-rides filmic convention and reinforces the use of light (from the projector) as a formal element within the ‘painting’; rendering it a material in its own right, a substance equal to paint. Light connects with the painted surface in different ways in these three pieces: in ‘Peepshow' the dabs of paint on the transparent surface function like mini, floating screens that partially catch the image or allow it to fall behind the ‘picture plane’. In ‘Where the Sun is Silent’, the impasto paint provides a location on the canvas within which each little sub-image ‘performs'.
Branagan’s piece, ‘Smoking’, shows a light-ridden naked woman locked into her pose, staring out of a black, void-like environment. She holds a gun in her left hand and a cigarette in her right hand, but the gun isn’t aimed at anyone, and she never smokes the cigarette; it continually burns down and reforms. It is one in a series of pieces where figures inhabit a slice of space and time that we can’t quite figure out. The glitch in comprehension is intriguing; as if the work needs to ‘fail’ (by one set of rules) just enough for us to experience the ‘double take’ that transports us to view using a different set of rules.
‘Transporter’ is a series of works by Yael Schmidt of life-size figures engaged in private activities such as sleeping, bathing or daydreaming, which are projected onto white sculptural forms (plinths on the floor or wall mounted) anchoring the image within a specific shape and area. The interesting thing about ‘Bath’ is the way that the sculptural form or ‘anchor’ for the image resembles the shape of the main object from the film (the bath). This literal complement creates a physicality which is momentarily lost each time the image fades away leaving just the box on the wall, which then becomes an object in its own right. These duel states that the work exists on, are connected to the artist’s interest in the fragile ethereal nature of projections and how sculptural, physical objects can create transient openings in this world, to link with another ‘reality’ or experience.
In his own world and unaware of his audience, ‘Whistling Man’, also by Yael Schmidt, is a video performance locked onto one of the sculptural forms. In a narrative sense the tune has a beginning and an end, but de-contextualised and encapsulated on and within the ‘anchor’, which protrudes forwards towards us, the work becomes an object rather than a predominantly filmic experience.
Works in the show:
'Whistling Man', 2010
looped video projected onto white wall-mounted plinth
looped video projected onto white wall-mounted plinth
'60 bpm', 2009
moving image on black sand with sound
moving image and paint on canvas
on loan by kind permission of Paul and Suzy Kusseneers, Antwerp
'Peep Show' / 'Mobius' / 'Where the Sun is Silent' 2009
moving image triptych with paint on Perspex or canvas, with wall mounted projectors on brackets
Born in Old Trafford, England, Sean Branagan studied for his BA at BIAD(UCE). He has received the Salford City Arts Bursary, 1st Prize; a studio practice grant from The Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York and an ‘Art for Architecture’ grant from the Royal Society of Arts. Branagan has exhibited nationally and internationally and has a forthcoming solo show at GOODEN GALLERY (September 2010). Other solo shows include: 'Un-Still Life' at Kusseneers Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium; 'The Solo Project' Basel, Switzerland; 'Painting with People II', at STUDIO ONE, the GRV, Edinburgh, Scotland; 'LIGHT FORMS' at VINEspace London. Group shows include: 'Shibboleth' at the Cafe Gallery Projects/ Dilston Grove, London; 'Painting Unlimited' at APT Gallery London. Last year he exhibited at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, as part of 'ROMA, the Road to Contemporary Art'.
Yael Schmidt graduated from The MA Fine Art programme at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London and photography programme at Hadassah College, Jerusalem. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; most recently a large-scale projection across Civic Hall, Millennium Square, Leeds and a Solo show 'Transporter' at V22 Project Space, London. She recently completed a five-month artist residency at Queen Anne’s Caversham, Berkshire. Awards include 'The America-Israel Foundation Award for Young Artist Working in Digital Media'. Publications include 'Camera Austria International' and 'Fold06'.
Cecile Wesolowski studied for her Masters Degree at the Ecole Regionale Superieure D'expression Plastique in Tourcoing, France. Solo shows include: 'Playback' at Villa de Bank, Enschede, The Netherlands; 'Watch this Space' at ARTCONNEXION, Lille, France (the culmination of a residency she undertook there); 'Eastern European Dating Meregate: Fucking Bitch You aren’t Polish’ at Crate Project Space, Margate, UK and 'I Play Bach: A One Night Stand with ....Cecile Wesolowski' at GOODEN GALLERY LONDON. This year she took part in 'Eye Kea' an international video art event in Cork, Ireland and in July she is participating in 'Qui Vive?' The 2nd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (Curated by Sergey Erkov and Daria Kamyshnikova). Cecile lives and works in Berlin.
Text by Della Gooden
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