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The Beat

HaswellEdiger & Co. Gallery
465 West 23rd Street, 212-206-8955
May 5 - June 3, 2006
Reception: Friday, May 5, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

This exhibition is a selection of five videos that use beat as its own proto-language. Una Szeemann’s Thrill Me (2004) compresses Michael Jackson’s video anthology into a nine minute edit that pits musical and chronological time against one another in a contemporary twist on Dorian Gray. Aïda Ruilova’s stripped down Beat & Perv (1999) utilizes editing in a way that is more suggestive of rhythm than chronology. In the video, the artist sways near a mirror while periodically calling out and hitting a drum. The camera then pans down to her bare legs as they bow out and back together in a gesture that sits somewhere between that of dance and human metronome.

Like the work of their aforementioned counterparts, the videos of Vlatka Horvat, Lucile Desamory and Terence Koh/Banks Violette also emphasize rhythm, the body, percussive editing and the biology of time. Horvat’s Left to Right and Back (2003) takes shape as an infinite loop that has the artist banging across a room while hidden in a large rolling container ¬- a literal human beat box. Desamory’s In the Shadow of the Hyperbole (2004) re-emphasizes the message in medium by connecting sped up film and stop-motion animation techniques to time-centric images of beating hearts and hypnotic swirls. Finally the collaborative video by Koh/Violette untitled (enter fear light / I may not climb the social ladder (but I can jump the schoolyard fence) (2006) condenses the language of body, beat, and passing time, to its most basic form. The sound of one hand clapping. Or a slap in the face.

The Beat finds common ground in a group of videos that choose language and structure over narrative and storytelling. They hold up time as both a source of artistic inspiration and a physical material by linking it to the body. The Russian film director Tarkovsky described filmmaking as sculpting in time. The Beat presents videos that instead sculpt on time.
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