Mixed Greens is pleased to present the project Rembrandt Flyby (parts 1& 2) by Mikhail Iliatov. Although the primary site of the piece is Mixed Greens’ 26th Street windows, Iliatov’s piece extends throughout the gallery space in an effort to interact with other artists’ works, visitors inside the gallery, and passersby.
Known for his work as a sound artist, Iliatov takes field recordings of places that are emotionally significant to him and then rearranges and reconstructs the audio documentation. He searches for sonic qualities that are able to characterize histories, emotions, and dimensionality in a way that visual representation is thought to. The resulting sound works often demand a great deal of time from the listener. Because there are unique demands placed on such a listener-viewer, Iliatov has begun to explore the plight of the viewer in this window installation.
When thinking about the length of many of his pieces, Iliatov anxiously contemplates his listener-viewers’ short attention spans. How will he ever know if someone is actually listening? When comparing his predicament to that of a painter, he became envious that the painter could, at the very least, observe the viewer’s eyes pointing in the direction of a piece and optimistically assume it was being appreciated in some way. “Yet how many times did I run, in the heat of the moment, past a Rembrandt, having just enough concentration to look at the label and the curatorial blurb?” writes Iliatov.
Rembrandt Flyby (parts 1 & 2), uses sensors and hardware, stealthily installed throughout Stas Orlovski’s solo exhibition (part 1) and Sonya Blesofsky’s solo exhibition (part 2), to tabulate how many people stand in front of each piece and for how long. The number of people and the average viewing duration for each artwork displays in the Mixed Greens’ windows as a series of flickering numbers. While the numbers may appear to reference something tangible, they are truly attempting to quantify the intangible: appreciation, contemplation, and meditation occurring in front of a work of art. Is anyone willing to spend thirty minutes standing in front of speakers, or a work or art, or the gallery windows? Iliatov is attempting to find out.
Mikhail Iliatov, born in Russia, now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, NL; Soapbox Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; the NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, NY; and 106 Green in Brooklyn, NY. He was a 2009-2010 resident at the Abrons Arts Center in New York.