Dreamlands

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Jud Yalkut “Destruct Film” – 1967

Screen. Light and shadows dance and mix and chase. There is movement across and in between. The screen runs up against the darkness. Or maybe there is no screen, just a wall and a projected image. Out of a machine little particles fly, looking for something to knock up against and explode – illuminate.

Sound. Whir buzz crash. Cymbals. Crash. A low hum of a projector. A voice that is not human but is familiar.

Hallways connect light and sound. A voice bleeds into the click of the projector. One dark room becomes another – keep your bearings so you don’t get lost in this world. White becomes pink, neon, green. (Alex Da Corte and Jaysson Musson “Easternsports”) Each moment you are in front of, inside, in between. In between.

Between walls, between light particles, between sounds, between works of art, between understandings and thoughts. Just as fast in and out of one and another as the images come and go before your gaze. In between moments of wonder and engagement.

In between dreams and consciousness.

In low light, snippets of sound drift out of indistinguishable aboves. You can hold light, catch the projector beam in your hand, then cough in the smoke, move, release, and it is gone. (Anthony McCall “Line Describing a Cone”) Open your eyes from one darkness to the next and catch at the memory, try to grasp it as the last tendrils fade and the dream, only an imagined memory to begin with, is now another degree removed.

The confetti of it sticks in your brain – falling upon you at strange times. The confetti of film crunches under your feet – hold it up to the light of another film being projected. Your shadow interrupts that of another on the wall. 5 – 4 – 3 – crunch under feet – out of the gallery and into the next. (Jud Yalkut “Destruct Film”)

Images come and go like fireflies blinking in and out – magical and speedy. (Philippe Parreno “With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life”) It is enchanting to watch life that is not life like ours but somehow still gets it.

You are enveloped and it is a game. You watch or play or exist. (Hito Steyerl “Factory of the Sun”)  Somehow every part of it gets bundled up in the blue light, and play and commentary and reality are all confused.

Because it is real. And it is a reality beyond touch, but within feeling. A dreamland.

 

“Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016” is on view at the Whitney until February 5, 2017

Image: http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/Dreamlands?&artwork_id=17251&filter_id=73

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Wyeth Meets Wes

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Image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/jamie-wyeth/twin-houses-1969

 

Jamie Wyeth’s Twin Houses (1969) belongs in a Wes Anderson film.

Upon seeing it hung in the Denver Art Museum recently, my mind immediately went to the director who was responsible for the beautiful films The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom.

It is a dream in pastel tones. It doesn’t make any noise, but it somehow feels like the memory of a song, or a daydream of something to come. The two houses face each other, as though they are ready to converse – or perhaps already deep in conversation. They are clean, placed at the center of the clear environment. The light in the painting seems blue, as if the entire piece is under some kind of periwinkle filter – much like the purple overtones of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Also like the movie, the light lends the piece an element of fantasy. The horizon line is straight, flat, and low, giving the sky room to breathe in the piece. The environment is reminiscent of the beach in Moonrise Kingdom, where two adventurous children express their love more bravely than adults often do. That moment – that feeling –  is just as pure.

Those two houses stand naked and full of life. They do not cover themselves in any way, not with any fancy additions or even the simplest bit of color. A person could sit in front of that painting all day, imagining what is happening on the other side of the small windows. But the houses reveal no secrets, they just sit simply in their existence, enjoying the sunshine.