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Kota Ezawa, City of Nature

Murray Guy
453 West 17th Street, 212-463-7372
February 26 - April 9, 2011
Reception: Saturday, February 26, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Murray Guy is pleased to announce our third solo exhibition with Kota Ezawa. Featuring new lightboxes, video, and sculptures, this show will coincide with the installation of City of Nature, a new public commission by Ezawa at Madison Square Park, New York, opening on March 31.

City of Nature is a new video which joins together landscape scenes taken from over 20 feature films—ranging from Deliverance to Fitzcarraldo to Brokeback Mountain—which show “nature” absent any humans or overt signs of civilization. Drawn frame by frame using vector-based animation, each scene leads into the next (for instance a bird from one scene flies into the landscape of another), creating a narrative in which the landscape becomes the protagonist.

The film will be projected in a public park amidst the dense urban space of the city. In the gallery, Ezawa takes up a different mode of spectatorship: visitors will encounter a series of stereoscopic cards on a table, to be viewed through handmade stereoscopic viewers. The cards reconfigure frames from many different films; devoid of any narrative content, they represent a typology of forms drawn from the history of image-making. Alongside the stereoscopic viewers, Ezawa will present a series of lightboxes and sculptures depicting human attempts to preserve, imitate, exploit or observe the natural world: a flooded suburban subdivision, tree sitting in Berkeley, the “Sahara” casino in Las Vegas, the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant.

Also included in the exhibition will be Ezawa’s new video Beatles über California, which pairs an animation of the Beatles’ 1964 performance on the Ed Sullivan show with the Dead Kennedys’ song “California Über Alles.” Here Ezawa treats sound and image as two distinct channels that address the viewer simultaneously. As with the images of nature that he seizes upon (which in their re-presentation are made both stranger and more familiar), a disjunction is produced within an apparently seamless transmission.

Kota Ezawa (b.1969 Cologne, Germany) studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie, San Francisco Art Institute and Stanford University, and lives and works in San Francisco. Recent group exhibitions include Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Bruce Conner and the Singles Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography, New York, and Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium Since 1960, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He has had solo exhibitions at the St. Louis Art Museum; Hayward Gallery, London; ArtPace, San Antonio; Santa Monica Museum of Art; Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford; and Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver.

Kota Ezawa: City of Nature was commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy and will be on view at Madison Square Park, New York, from March 31 to May 15.
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