Us and Them, an exhibition of new videos, film, photography, and sculpture by artist Christian Jankowski. Analogous to earlier works that experiment with commercial filmmaking conventions and question traditional ideas of artistic authorship, this particular body of work explores the film genre of horror, suggesting how cinematic visions of monstrosity and violence can also communicate broader notions of transformation, revenge, and redemption.
Jankowski is known for involving a range of non-artists such as televangelists, psychics, children, and therapists in his works. Continuing in this vein, Angels of Revenge (2006), a new video and series of photographs, grew out of Jankowski’s trip to _Weekend of Horrors,) a horror film conference in Chicago. There he invited participants from a costume contest to his makeshift film studio in a hotel room. Each was asked to write a letter to the person in their lives who had most betrayed, harmed, or offended them, and was then videotaped reciting his or her letter, outlining a specific, and often violent, form of retribution. In a related series of photo-diptychs, Jankowski juxtaposes a portrait of each costumed participant with an enlarged photo of the corresponding handwritten narrative of betrayal and revenge.
Another new work featured in the exhibition is Lycan Theorized (2006), made up of video and sculpture. The project evolved out of Jankowski’s experience this past year working alongside a small film production company in the midst of shooting a straight-to-DVD werewolf movie. This project intermixes scenes from the upcoming commercial release with alternate scenes devised by Jankowski in which actors interrupt the storyline at critical junctures with commentaries extracted from writings by leading film scholars. The third part of the show is a new 16mm silent film titled Playing Frankenstein (2006). While working on the werewolf movie, Jankowski met an actor who was making a promotional video to find work impersonating Frankenstein. Inspired by the efforts of this actor and his recreated set alluding to the 1931 film, Jankowksi brought out his camera and challenged “Frankenstein” to an impromptu game of chess.
This exhibition is curated by Assistant Curator Matthew Lyons and Executive Director Debra Singer of The Kitchen.