Rebecca Baumann, Brendan Van Hek, Alicia Frankovich, Len Lye, László Moholy-Nagy and Grant Stevens | In Motion
10.07.15 - 08.08.15
10 July – 8 August 2015
Starkwhite is pleased to present In Motion, an exhibition exploring various approaches to composing or choreographing color, motion and movement with works by Rebecca Baumann and Brendan Van Hek (AUS), Alicia Frankovich (DE), Len Lye (NZ), Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (US) and Grant Stevens (AUS).
Rebecca Baumann and Brendan Van Hek both explore the relationship between colour, light and time in their work. In this exhibition they present a collaborative work made for Colour Restraint at Sydney’s Campbelltown Arts Centre. Untitled (2015) is a floor installation of coloured acrylic panels mounted on aluminium frames that stand facing each other – one pink, one blue and one yellow – to create an experiential piece. Reflecting on each other from various viewpoints, the acrylic panels mix up colours, forming shades of purple, green and red. The various combinations of reflective surfaces rely on audience interaction to create expanded space as a reflection of a reflection of a reflection, and to affect movement through the exhibition.
Alicia Frankovich has positioned herself as an artist working at the intersection of performance and sculpture. “The transformation of physicality into sculpture is one striking aspect of her work,” says Christina Lehnert, curator of the forthcoming exhibition 120% at the Gebert Foundation for Culture in Switzerland, which will feature existing and new sculpture by Frankovich. “Here, moments of bodily experience are transformed into various materials, or conversely these experiences are transformed into movements, and then back into sculptural moments.” In Motion features Frankovich’s The Female Has Undergone Several Manifestations (2015), a shimmering sheer black-gradating-to-blue-to-red curtain undulating gently in the breeze of a stainless steel fan, placed close to the chromatically matching photograph Becoming Public: Actor (2015), which protrudes 40° from the wall on one side.
Len Lye composed color and motion to extraordinary effect in his films. A COLOUR BOX (1935) earned him a special place in film history as the first ever ‘direct film’, made without a camera by painting images directly on celluloid. Lye’s film was screened in cinemas throughout Britain and was seen, according to British film historian David Curtis,“by a larger public than any experimental film before it, and most since.” A COLOUR BOX won a Medal of Honour at the 1935 International Cinema in Brussels. Having no suitable category in which to award the film, the jury simply invented a new one. In the following year, when presented at the Venice Film Festival, the screening had to be stopped because of a noisy demonstration by fascists and Nazis who condemned the film as “degenerate art” because of its modern style. A COLOUR BOX (1935) is presented in In Motion courtesy of the Len Lye Foundation and the British Postal Museum and Archive, from material preserved by the BFI National Archive and made available by Nga Taonga Sound and Vision. The Len Lye Foundation also acknowledges the support of Technix Group Ltd.
In 1927, four years after he joined the faculty of the Bauhaus school in Weimar Germany, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy published Malerie, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film). In this influential book – part of a series he co-edited with Walter Gropius, director of the Bauhaus – he asserted that photography and cinema had heralded a “culture of light” that had overtaken the most innovative aspects of painting. Moholy-Nagy extolled photography – and film, by extension – as the quintessential medium of the future. His interest in the movement of objects and light through space led him to construct Light Prop for an Electric Stage (Light-Space Modulator). This object is the subject of Ein Lichtspiel: schwarz weiss grau (A Lightplay: Black White Grey), Moholy-Nagy’s only abstract film, which synthesizes his attempts to visualize the act of seeing from multiple viewpoints. Ein Lichtspiel: schwartz weiss grau (A Lightplay: Black White Grey) is presented in In Motion courtesy of the Moholy-Nagy Foundation.
Grant Stevens is known for his videos featuring texts sourced from TV, movies and the Internet, but he also works with a variety of media, including lenticular prints as seen in this exhibition. Particle Wave (2012) is comprised of six lenticular panels hung in an even, horizontal sequence. Each panel alternates between two solid colour fields as you move past it. There are six colours in total, with each colour represented twice in the spectrum. From left to right, the panels move through yellow, orange, magenta, violet, blue, green and back to yellow. The work’s title refers to the two competing theories of light, which can be understood as either paradoxical or complementary. Like these theories, the experience of viewing the work catches us in a double bind. While we can orient ourselves to see solid colour fields one by one, we are never able to fully capture them all at once. In fact, it is only through our continual movement, and the subsequent transitioning of visible colours that we register the complete spectrum. Through this viewing experience, Particle Wave actively engages with our peripheral vision and the transitory nature of perception. It plays with the fundamental pleasures of colour and vision, and the uneasy seduction of being unable to grasp multiple phenomena simultaneously.