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JH

The Cruel Cruel World

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Projectspace B431

The film has lots of musings about the state of existence and the role of violence, what you can and cannot get away with in ‘the art world' and the nature of powerful groups in our society such as ‘tough guys' and ‘smart guys' - of which our hapless narrator is neither. It is occasionally prone to being cute (as American humour can) and the work would probably be more successful cut down to ten minutes.

Auckland

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

My Pretty Peacenik


19 May - 22 May 2010

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries are a Korean/American artist duo consisting of Young-Hae Chang and Marc Voge who are currently doing a residency at Elam Art School. This show presents one of their language-based video works in the new university gallery Projectspace B431. They are showing a 16 minute work initially commissioned by Temple Gallery at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The single-screened DVD uses written text to speculate about the wide world, the art world, and violence. The tone is informal and humorous, as if spoken by Holden Caulfield or one of the characters in Peanuts, and tells of the woes of being a young man desperately trying to impress his attractive pacifist girlfriend. In the story’s climax he is attached by a bully but he refuses to defend himself - thinking she’ll admire him for it. He gets beaten up and she leaves him anyway.

The film has lots of musings about the state of existence and the role of violence, what you can and cannot get away with in ‘the art world’ and the nature of powerful groups in our society such as ‘tough guys’ and ‘smart guys’ - of which our hapless narrator is neither. It is occasionally prone to being cute (as American humour can) and the work would probably be more successful cut down to ten minutes. The narrative is revealed through precise editing, the use of words in short phrases, precise comic timing and now and then, enlarged single words. While at times it is a bit heavy-hand with the gags, there is a lovely nuanced soundtrack of organ, drums and bass pulsing the story along in the background.

Here is these artists’ website. There are lots of works to look at so try some out on your screen. I think the work at Elam doesn’t stand up to more than three viewings at max. It soon palls, but it is a good thoughtful laugh first time through. If there were some pithy images it might linger in the mind longer.

John Hurrell

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