Multiplex will feature two new animations by Kota Ezawa that draw from, respectively, the 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad, and a YouTube video showing an infamous 2004 brawl at an NBA basketball game. In both works, Ezawa replaces the camera’s mimetic gaze with a digitally animated screen that selectively filters information and details from the original source material. While pointedly different in tone, subject matter and narrative structure, both animations—and particularly the dialogic space created between them—ask us to consider our relationship to filmed images as they are continually framed, re-framed and circulated.
LYAM 3D is a silent vector-based animation of scenes from the seminal Resnais/Robbe-Grillet film, L’année dernière à Marienbad, projected in 16mm. Viewed through anaglyph red-green glasses, Ezawa’s 3D animation circles around the film—which itself is almost hermetically circuitous—by focusing on shots in which the actors remain nearly motionless, fixed to their baroque surroundings like models in a diorama. Yet as the animations move across the screen, the characters appear to shift endlessly in space. Ezawa disturbs our assumed proximity to the images, simultaneously flattening and deepening the film, distending and slowly warping its oblique topology.
Also set in a palace—the Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons—Brawl is a 16mm animated film of a fight at a Pistons-Pacers game that began with a foul and a cup of beer thrown from the stands and ended with the suspension of 9 NBA players. Accustomed to tracking the linear movement of the ball through the court, the televised video feed jerkily shifts and pans and zooms throughout the arena to show multiple points of conflict simultaneously unfolding. Ezawa describes the scene as reminiscent of a Rubens painting, for instance The Battle of the Amazons, 1598, where tension is dispersed across the surface. The soundtrack contains no commentary, just the voices of players and audience coming from the stadium floor and catacombs.
This will be Kota Ezawa’s second solo exhibition at Murray Guy. Born in 1969 in Cologne, Germany, he studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie, San Francisco Art Institute and Stanford University, and lives and works in San Francisco. His work is currently on view as part of The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the St. Louis Art Museum; Hayward Gallery, London; ArtPace, San Antonio; Santa Monica Museum of Art; Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford; and Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver.