Monday, February 25, 2008
Yesterday I visited the Station Museum of Contemporary Art for the first time. They are currently hosting an exhibit of the works of the Russian artist collective AES+F. If you live anywhere near Houston, admission is free. This show will run through Friday, and it bears the ...nurgh... seal of approval. If not, maybe it'll make its way to your town eventually.
"Defile" features photographs of unknown persons from morgues digitally attired in fashionable dress to give the illusion of a runway show. The photos are near life size and scanned onto a backlit opaque screen, giving the appearance of floating on air in a luminous casket. I found it more beautiful than grotesque, but do have some issues with the violation of these John and Jane Does, just as I have to question the morality of a show like Bodyworlds while staring at it intently.
Next came "Suspects," Fourteen headshots of girls aged 11-14 in similar poses and dress under the exact same lighting. Seven of these girls were sentenced to prison on various murder charges described on a nearby wall. Seven of the girls are, to the best of anyone's knowledge, innocent of such crimes. The display presents you with the option of trying to deduce which are which with no additional information provided.
Finally, "Last Riot" is a short film combining underage models in various states of undress acting out sadistic wargames with Japanese swords and baseball bats against the backdrop of a crude video game. The feature is projected on three screens to create a panoramic view accompanied by a punishing operatic score.
Each of the displays come with extensive commentary on the artists' intent. Perhaps due to culture differences, I felt two of the three landed off-mark, but was only disappointed with "Last Riot." I found the film to be overly vague in some respects, entirely too on the nose in others, and gratingly repetative. However, a big thumbs up on the photographic efforts, and well worth the trip.
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