Updates, Live

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

C.L.U.E. at New Museum

C.L.U.E. stands for Color Location Ultimate Experience, a multi-video installation on view at the New Museum. For me it offered also the clue for this museum as a living body where the components are balancing each other.

The main exhibition was an Elizabeth Peyton show: a figurative artist with hundreds of beautiful portraits spanned over two floors. As I was taking the narrow stairwell between the two floors I came across a tiny space where C.L.U.E. was installed. And I realized that this challenging artwork was making the balance with the figurative approach of Elisabeth Peyton's portraits.

So the portraiture show was largely exposed over two floors, while C.L.U.E. was on a very small surface in between: very narrow while very tall, a chimney-like volume (actually named the Shaft Projection Space). You were coming across unexpectedly, a moment of unconventional art on the journey along the portraits.

I wonder what would be exposed in the Shaft Project Space were to be somebody like, say, Damien Hirst on view on the third and fourth floors? Probably not another challenging guy like Rob Pruitt with his Viagra Falls (anyway, there would not be enough space in the Shaft, rather on the stairwell). No, Damien Hirst on the main show would leave the Shaft empty, because only a video installation is possible there, which eliminates the conventional from the start. And not any video art work: the Five Angels of the Millennium of Bill Viola need much more room, for example. Perhaps the videos of Kimsooja?

Okay, let's come back to C.L.U.E. It is the cooperation of a Video Installation artist (A.L. Steiner) and two Movement artists (the robbinschilds: Layla Childs and Sonya Robbins). Good, and what's Movement Art? Probably Aditza Ausch would give you another definition, but from what I saw in C.L.U.E. it's this: Performance Art in relationship with the changing Environment.

Essential is that Environment is changing and Movement responds to the new setting, in search for integration.

The performance is done in very disparate environments: seashore, highway in a deserted landscape, forest, grass, city, deck, roof, car cemetery, plaza, landscape bordered by mountains, the mountains very near or somewhere in distance, etc; it is warm or desolate, generous or sultry, urban or wildly natural. Their movement is flexible: recognizing the new stimulus, responding to it, integration in harmony.

So we have a row of disparate environments, a row of performance art sequences in response. Each one looks for the harmony within the surrounding environment. This is the Movement part of C.L.U.E.: the merit of robbinschilds.

The harmony of the whole is the merit of A.L.Steiner: decomposing each sequence in atoms, linking them together in units for the parallel videos; looking for an aesthetic relation between separate units.

I captured some stills from the web. I'm afraid they give only a very weak idea of the whole. You have to be there, in the Shaft Project Space and to watch the parallel monitors, the simultaneous units of movement, color, background, sound; to remain longer, till you start feeling like in a trance. Then you become part of the harmony.

(New York, New York)

(Contemporary Art)



Post a Comment

<< Home