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The Performative Body

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Laresa Kosloff, Red & White Run, 2011, Super 8 transferred to dvd, 1 min 20 sec loop Laresa Kosloff, Liberties, 2011, Super 8 transferred to dvd, 43 sec loop If Sameness is in the Centre, then Difference is on the Periphery, installation at Starkwhite. Ruth Proctor, Outlaw at Dawn in Torino, 3 videos, detail Alicia Frankovich, Orpheus, 2010, aluminium, egg tray, eggs Ruth Proctor, Let's Dance, 2010, metal music stand, typed paper sheets

This is a nuanced show where connections take a couple of visits to become apparent. Kosloff's film of runners going under or past sculpture ties in as a foil to Alicia Frankovich's minimalist sculpture of a aluminium frame on which is gingerly balanced a tray of eggs. The sculpture alludes to carefully controlled poise and movement and Frankovitch's history as a gymnast.



Alicia Frankovich / Laresa Kosloff / Ruth Proctor
If sameness is in the centre, then difference is on the periphery


8 March - 2 April 2011

Three artists interested in the potential of the performative body here present an assortment of video and freestanding sculpture: an austere arrangement in the large downstairs gallery of Starkwhite. The work features documented bodily actions in the video - that of the artists personally, or helpers, or street performers - and sculpture that implies a body moving through or around it.

At the two ends of one low table Laresa Kosloff presents two monitors showing two Super 8 films: one with four street performers in Rome dressed in coloured outfits posing (at different times) as the Statue of Liberty; the other presenting a looped stream of a hundred people dressed as Santa, sprinting through a city plaza under some white horizontal stone sculptures that could almost reference Santa’s hoary beard. The joggers come in different shapes, sizes and ages, and not all are completely dressed as Father Christmas.

Some aspects of the work are quite comical and link up with the films Kosloff showed at ARTSPACE during the Auckland Triennial, showing members of the public interacting with sculpture in a Melbourne cityscape, and the studio films she had last year at Two Rooms in the David Thomas curated COLOUR light TIME exhibition, showing her wearing large coloured geometrical forms.

This is a nuanced show where connections take a couple of visits to become apparent. Kosloff’s film of runners going under or past sculpture ties in as a foil to Alicia Frankovich‘s minimalist sculpture of a aluminium frame on which is gingerly balanced a tray of eggs. The sculpture alludes to carefully controlled poise and movement and Frankovitch’s history as a gymnast. Kosloff’s other video of the four Statues of Liberty seems to strangely link up with a sculpture by Ruth Proctor that contemplates the nature of translation. She has taken the lyrics of David Bowie’s song ‘Let’s Dance’ and had it translated into Spanish by German Martinez, a Columbian. This text she has then had retranslated back to English through a Google computer-driven translation service, so that odd differences in the first translation are exacerbated and new peculiarities added. This is like the Roman street performers’ interpretations of the New York icon that are then reinterpreted by Kosloff’s camera where the local architectural context affects how you see the details of clothing and pose.

Proctor’s other contribution is a set of three videos of herself (childishly masked I think) breaking into a large ice skating rink in Turin at night and doing several sweeping laps clockwise and anticlockwise. On one occasion she attempts some spins in the centre and falls over. Proctor’s earlier passion for ice skating parallels Frankovich’s obsession with gymnastics, and her actions seem to reflect the show’s title, a quote from Deleuze picked out by Frankovich.

Difference on the periphery’ seems indicated by the wild Bowie ‘third-layer’ translation, Kosloff’s recontextualised Roman Statues of Liberty, or a potentially egg splattered Frankovich if she bumped the aluminium frame. On the transcripted conversation between the three artists that is a take-away sheet with the show, they talk about the relationship of chance to the movement within their respective practices between sameness and difference.

Kosloff for example talks about the best of her Super 8 films as having ‘an uncanny quality…to do with image composition and texture of the footage…My interest in certain locations has changed…(It was in) the design rhetoric of architecture and how certain buildings choreograph human behaviour… I then became interested in how people claim public space for their own purposes…’

While this exhibition is a little on the dry side - over wordy with its poster and perhaps a little lacking in sensuality - it has, as I’ve said, nice subtleties waiting to be discovered. Cleverness sometimes can be tedious when desperate to be noticed, but aspects of this show dovetail nicely into last year’s Triennale - and it has an impressive internal cohesion that is not obvious but nevertheless palpable. The sculpture and moving image are conceptually well interwoven. It is convincingly succinct.

John Hurrell

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