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Vital Signs: Summer 2005 Group Show

Maya Stendhal
545 West 20th Street, 212-366-1549
June 2 - July 31, 2005
Web Site

In a climate of political malapropism, in which cinematic tropes are deployed as though they were news, Vital Signs aims to investigate the language of visual culture by deconstructing dominant codes and unveiling unexpected grammars. The artists included in the exhibition are Michael Snow, Jeff Scher, Peter Rose, Takahiko Iimura, Barbara Hammer, Matthias Groebel, Seymour Chwast, and Nisi Jacobs.

If the language of Hollywood cinema has become ossified—too archetypal, employing codified juxtapositions for simplistic psychological effect—then it remains for artists to interrogate, subvert, or explode the way we receive and parse the images we live in. Language is a continual process of renovation: the progress of obsolescence and innovation can be both agonizing and imperceptible. The effects of cinema on cognition have been documented: it now becomes important to trace the marks of cinematic consciousness on fixed-image artmaking. How might this illuminate the way we understand political and media atrophies?

By presenting both moving and static pieces, the artists in this exhibition undertake an implicit examination of the limits and the possibilities of new technology on their practice. All technology promises some kind of formal innovation, but it also creates its own restrictions and harbors quirks, irregularities, and contingencies—just as language does. How do older modes of plastic artistic production interact with new media? What is the influence of tradition—the language of before—on media art—the culture of the now? Inspired by language and the act of speech, but not necessarily speaking verbally, the question of intelligibility—verbal, pictorial, aural, and other—is reinstated as a demand upon artmaking. What can form say? What can motion do that stasis cannot?
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