516 ARTS is pleased to announce Ghosts in the Machine, an exhibition of internationally renowned video artists presented with SITE Santa Fe on both floors of 516 ARTS in Downtown Albuquerque. In the spirit of inter-city collaboration, SITE Santa Fe and 516 ARTS are working together to build our mutual audiences and showcase our region as a center for contemporary art. The exhibition is curated by SITE Santa Fe and features the work of Jeremy Blake (US), Johanna Domke (Germany), Isaac Julien (UK), Ana Mendieta (Cuba), Hiraki Sawa (Japan) and Eve Sussman (US).
Though diverse in style and presentation, the works by these artists share a concern with the formal aesthetics and technical capabilities of the video medium. Traditional subjects such as time, memory and history appear in the forms of silhouettes and shadows and are also explored through a variety of digital editing techniques, including, cross-fading, time remapping and image distortion that create unnatural, otherworldly effects.
Although more than twenty years separate True North (2004) and Alma Silueta en Fuego (Soul Silhouette on Fire) (1975), created by Isaac Julien and Ana Mendieta respectively, both artists use the traditional subject of the figure and landscape to explore notions of race, exile and the Other. Eve Sussman also raids history; in 89 Seconds at Alcázar (2004), Sussman takes Diego Velázquez’s seventeenth-century painting Las Meninas as her subject, imagining the events leading up to one of the most famous family portraits captured in paint — one, which in fact, never took place. In Let the wind blow (2003), Johanna Domke collapses time in ways that allude to how we accept fragmented, manipulated expressions of time as reality. Jeremy Blake merges abstract and representational imagery in Winchester (2002) in an attempt to convey the dissolution of one woman’s psychological state, while Hiraki Sawa’s surrealistic, black and white Trail (2005) blends reverie with classic elements of cinema to hypnotic effect.
Often blurring the lines between fact and fiction, absence and presence, and materiality and immateriality, among others, the works in Ghosts in the Machine address our changing notions of time and the fabricated, illusory nature of images that characterize our digital age. Although visual lushness and dream-like qualities underscore much of the work in this exhibition, these artists use video to speak broadly and eloquently about issues of cultural identity, power, gender, madness and loss.
Steven Robert Allen, “Magic Lanterns” Alibi