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Chris Piazza, The Pictures with accompanying films by Kenneth Anger, Rudy Burckhardt, Joseph Cornell, Barry Gerson and Lawrence Jordan

Tria Gallery
531 West 25th Street, ground floor #5, 212-695-0021
November 1 - December 21, 2007
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Tria Gallery presents “The Pictures,” featuring photograph-based mixed media works by Chris Piazza. Also on display will be experimental films created in the 1930s through 1980s by legendary avant-garde filmmakers, Kenneth Anger, Rudy Burckhardt, Joseph Cornell, Barry Gerson and Lawrence Jordan. This exhibition will be on display from November 1 through December 21, 2007.

Film writer John Matturri has described Chris Piazza’s work as coming out of “her deep feeling for found materials, a feeling rooted in patinas that are as much emotional as physical, that often call the viewer back to material histories that resonate although they are often just beyond the reach of personal memory.” Ms. Piazza’s fascination with old photographs, films, and the indelible images they can etch in viewers’ minds is at the heart of this exhibition. Matturri writes that Piazza’s works combine a minimalist sensibility of repetition, seriality, and meticulous craftsmanship with a maximalist imaginative vision akin to, albeit on a larger physical scale, that of Joseph Cornell. Applying her procedures to found objects, she creates an art that celebrates the world of their makers and users not through nostalgic recollection for a lost past but through a positive affirmation of continuity and solidarity. Her re-use of those objects is very contemporary…

Piazza first encountered experimental film in the early 1970s, and she says that she was forever moved by what she saw. One can immediately see its influence in her work. “The Pictures” is an undeniable homage to these filmmakers, in addition to being a strong virtuosic statement of her own vision and talent. From old photos and objects Piazza creates new worlds, new beauty and new dialogues. One easily and happily falls into the world of Piazza’s imagination, a world informed by things past but still very present, a world of almost indescribable depth and beauty.

The Films

Piazza comments on her film selections and how they influenced her work:

“Kenneth Anger’s singular beauty, ‘Rabbit’s Moon’ continues to haunt me. Along with ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ by Marcel Carné, this film is the basis for my fascination with the commedia. It is the homemade silver-dream landscape that stands as a foundation for all my work. I always recall it, like a silver lake will always remember its tinsel shore.”

“I met Rudy Burckhardt only once. He seemed a very tender man. He worked with Cornell and other artists I’ve greatly admired. Helen Levitt was one. His work is there, right in the middle of things…the everyday. And yet he seemed to see everything from that point of distance that only poets have. Like perfect pitch his work observes in a very true and honest way – the way I imagine birds see things.”

“I was introduced to Joseph Cornell’s films before seeing his boxes. I was so infatuated by his images and the delicacy of his timing that someone suggested I might like his sculpture… “little boxes full of lovely old things.” His work changed everything for me. Still, I’m so glad I was able to know him first through his films. There’s some sort of silence that comes through his choice of moving images that can’t be found in anything else. Maybe it’s the light.”

“Barry Gerson’s films are also a record of the ordinary: rain, wind, a brick wall, the wooden boards of a floor. But through his simple, lyrical juxtapositions these sights, which pass by countless times in the course of any ordinary day, become reasons to stop and wonder at what’s under the disguise of “ordinary.” His films are moments of rest, as if one stopped by a church for a moment and had an opportunity to consider what really constitutes the sublime.”

“Lawrence Jordan’s films taught me how to bring life to the inanimate. Flat was no longer flat. And stories curved through old and new…beautiful space/time made enchantment by paper cut-outs taught to dance to paper ballets along the mysterious paths cut by a master story teller. His films seemed to say to me, “Life is possible anywhere and it goes on forever.” They also said, “Never grow up.” I hope I’ve listened to his wisdom.”
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