AZZARELLA’s source material here departs from his well known use of historical news footage to the realm of historic popular culture. AZZARELLA assiduously scavenges, modifies and rewrites, frame-by-frame, Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller video, directed by John Landis. Devoid of the title song and emptied of all figures, including the late King of Pop himself, the viewer has no choice but to take notice of the lush, vivid landscape.
Deserted streets, a foggy graveyard and a vacant movie theater become potential sites, waiting movie sets on which innumerable scenes could be played out. They remind us of our own projected fantasies and our desire to imagine ourselves inside popular culture. In noticing the emptied surroundings, we also question how the topography of a landscape affects the events within it and in turn how events affect the landscape.
This work also marks AZZARELLA’s first foray into sound. The landscape that was once the backdrop to the song Thriller has been imbued with a full surround sound mix of ambient, localized and constructed atmospheres based on sound from the original video.
AZZARELLA lives and works in New York City. He was the recipient of the 2006 Emerging Artist Award and a solo exhibition from The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT). Previous solo and group exhibitions include Kavi Gupta Gallery (Chicago, IL); Academie der Kunste (Berlin, Germany); Sean Kelly Gallery (New York, NY); Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco, CA). His work is included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is his second solo exhibition with DCKT Contemporary.