Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new video and performance works by Liz Magic Laser. For her second solo show with the gallery, Laser will premiere the feature-length video, “I Feel Your Pain” (a Performa Commission, Produced by Performa) and “The Digital Face”, a live performance featuring dancers, Alan Good and Cori Kresge.
“I Feel Your Pain” was performed, filmed and edited in real-time in the midst of an audience in a movie theater. Eight actors performed a sequence of scenes that traced the progression of a relationship using dialogue adapted from political interviews with figures such as Glenn Beck, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and John Boehner. As the actors performed, selected footage from three roving cinematographers was projected onto the screen in a continuous live-feed while Laser acted as live editor. Commissioned by Performa, two performances took place at the SVA Theatre during Performa 11 in November 2011, resulting in the two versions of the video on view in the gallery. Drawing on the Soviet agitprop model of a “living newspaper,” “I Feel Your Pain” examines how emotions are used to establish authenticity and mobilize support on America’s political stage.
While “I Feel Your Pain” engages the emotionally manipulative dialect of politics, “The Digital Face” isolates and examines the studied body language of politicians. Laser works with two dancers to mimic the movements from two State of the Union addresses: President Barack Obama’s 2012 speech and President George H. W. Bush’s 1990 speech which Laser claims is the first televised State of the Union address that features gesticulating arms. The two performers juxtapose distinct historical moments highlighting the evolution of the politician’s performance. Exposed is a process that maximizes the efficiency of the American president’s empathic display. After the performance, a two-channel slide show version will be projected on opposing walls. “The Digital Face” title references the ideas of François Delsarte who developed oratorical theories and exercises in the early 19th century (“digital” here refers to fingers).
Laser lives and works in New York City. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Ljubljana Biennial, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Pace Gallery. She has upcoming exhibitions at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Malmö Konsthall, Sweden. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Modern Painters, The New Yorker, Frieze, Art Review, Art in America, and New York Magazine among other publications. Liz Magic Laser will restage “The Digital Face” performance as part of a Sunday Session she will curate at MoMA PS1 inside the new MoMA PS1 Performance Dome on April 1st, 1 – 4pm.
“I Feel Your Pain” features actors Lynn Berg, Audrey Crabtree, Ray Field, Annie Fox, Kathryn Grody, Rafael Jordan, Liz Micek, and Ryan Shams. The video was made with producer David Guinan and cinematographers Alex Hadjiloukas, Collin Kornfeind and Matthew Nauser of Polemic Media; costume stylist: Felicia Garcia-Rivera; still photographer Yola Monakhov; technical crew: Will Chu, Brandon Polanco, Irwin Seow and Tristan Shepherd. The script includes editorial contributions from Scott Indrisek, Wendy Osserman, Jess Wilcox and Tom Williams. Co-presented by the School of Visual Art’s Visual and Critical Studies and BFA Fine Arts Departments. Supported by Performa Curators Circle member Joanne Cassullo/Dorothea Leonhardt Fund, Esther Kim Varet and Joseph Varet, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Dedalus Foundation.