press release

BETWEEN YOU AND ME brings together twelve artists – from the emerging to the internationally known – whose intimate video works address viewers directly, face to face. In the late 1960s, when the video camera emerged as part of a performative, experimental medium, artists found the new tool to be an ideal instrument for personal investigations and exercises in the studio. Artists such as Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Carolee Schneeman and John Baldessari enlisted the camera as a witness to private activity, rather than using it to articulate a cinematic narrative. Today, many younger artists are revisiting the simplicity of those early videos as a way to formally, conceptually and physically investigate our contemporary screen-based culture.

In an installation that demands a physical proximity between viewer and monitor, the fourteen pieces included in the exhibition present moments of intimacy, varying from sudden aggressions and quiet confessions, to secret meditations and spoken monologues. Despite the diversity in their approach, each work constitutes a short soliloquy about how video is watched, how video is framed and how video can physically and emotionally confront the viewer.

Francis Alÿs’s El Gringo (2003) presents a pack of snarling dogs moving closer to the camera, and then jumping aggressively towards it, attacking an illicit or unwanted outsider. Also tied to a fear of closeness, Los Angeles-based artist Kerry Tribe presents Untitled (Potential Terrorist) (2002), featuring Warholesque headshots of 29 consecutive actors responding to a casting call for a potential terrorist in a series of screen tests. Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock’s video Phantom/Fountain (2004) shows the artist spitting morgue water at the camera, accentuating a psychological discomfort with a physical proximity to death, while New York artist Emily Katrencik’s Consuming 1.956 Inches Each Day For Forty-One Days (2005) documents a performance whereby the artist slowly eats away at a sheetrock wall. Literally consuming architecture, Katrencik uses her teeth to gradually turn wall into dust, creating a haunting video situated between aggression, danger and intimacy.

Sexier moments include the super-8 film Rattles and Cherries (2004), where New York-based artist Shannon Plumb seductively poses on a sofa-chair, hesitantly pulling on the shoulder straps of her negligee and peeling a banana. Her provocation proves less than effective, as attempts are continually interrupted by the cries of a newborn nearby. Tom Johnson, seated in front of his camera, delivers rambling meditations that begin as complex philosophical queries, only to become absurd abstractions of thought. His monologues ambiguously hover between heartfelt sincerity and jumbled mania. Hard (2003) articulates a mood of confused sexual distress.

Portland-based artist Harrell Fletcher’s quiet video portraits are celebrations of small beauties, including Babies (NYC) (2004), a series of close-ups of babies in strollers, as well as Hello There Friend (Queens, NY) (2004), a video flip-book of hand-held discarded objects found on city streets. Jenny Perlin’s Washing (2002) shows the artist gently wiping a window overlooking the changed downtown Manhattan skyline. Created in 16mm, she allows dust and scratches to accumulate on the film, slowly deteriorating the image. This process gives the act of wiping and cleaning a mournful melancholy sense of a memory not yet forgotten. Douglas Ross’ Harmony (1999-2000) puts the artist face to face with his washing machine. Part meditation and part face off, the artist attempts to harmonize with the continuous hum of his home appliance in a complicit silent conversation.

Tied to video as a physical framing device is Norwegian artist Marit Følstad’s Bubbles (2003) which exposes the successes and failures of the body. Blowing bubble after bubble, the artist fills the frame with bubble gum, only to have the moment shatter, over and over, and become a blank stare.

Montreal-based Christof Migone creates video, performance, sound and radio works. Included here is his video diptych, Poker (2001) showing a pair of hands awkwardly poking, caressing, or prodding a face, breaching the borders that separate bodies on a search for sounds they might make. For his video work Un-Stacking (2004) James Yamada asks South American locals to pick objects – anything from a plastic bucket to a rubber duck – and to arrange them on a narrow ledge overlooking a lush green valley. The back and forth between physical image making and video image making articulates the space between object and video and the body’s involvement in the process of composing and framing a still life.

BETWEEN YOU AND ME is curated by New York-based Independent Curator Anthony Huberman and was originally presented at SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY (Sept. 12-Nov. 29, 2004)


Between You and Me - a video exhibition
Kurator: Anthony Huberman

mit Francis Alÿs, Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, Harrell Fletcher, Marit Folstad, Tom Johnson, Emily Katrencik, Christof Migone, Jenny Perlin, Shannon Plumb, Douglas Ross, Kerry Tribe, James Yamada

12.09.04 - 29.11.04 SculptureCenter, Long Island City
12.03.05 - 17.04.05 Arthouse Texas, Austin