John Hurrell – 24 February, 2015
The movement within the each beam is quite mesmerising. Its slow steady pace and revolving direction generates visual tensions as the lines swivel and cross, holding your attention while you compare both ends of the room. The smoke has a smell that gets into your mouth, its clammy dampness going down your neck. The room in a sense osmotically absorbs you. You blend into its forms.
Face to Face
27 January - 25 March 2015
Anthony McCall‘s light installation here is very different from the single horizontal light cone popularly experienced in Auckland Art Gallery’s recent Light Show, nor is it vertical - as depicted in the Govett-Brewster residency posters conspicuously pasted up as billboards around Auckland.
This time in Trish Clark’s gallery, there are two ‘smoky’ horizontal cones, positioned top to tail and a little flattened, with the slow moving linear formations projected identically onto opposite ends of the carefully constructed oblong space. One cone is higher than the other, and there is plenty of room at the sides so that when you stand back out of the light by a long wall, the two identical images can be observed simultaneously. The projectors are located in diagonally opposite positions, one in the top lefthand corner of one wall, another in the bottom lefthand corner of the other.
The two old fashioned haze machines used here are hidden in the darkness, one on each side. They are noisy and slightly irregular in the spluttering bursts of mist they fire across the beams, meandering wisps of fog that caress the curved outer ‘shells’ of the ethereal cones. While the two interlocked forms never overlap, you do look through the beams of one to see the projected lines of the other. The co-ordinated moving drawings (a compressed parabola and two scissor-like intersecting lines) - as glowing white cross-sections - suggest tilted traversing planes and curves that sweep down the length of the room from the projector bulbs, while the animated lines themselves - one set slowly advancing while the other justaposed set is erased - use the cinematic technique of ‘wiping‘, a coding mechanism often for a flashback or jump-forward in time.
When you cross the room and intercept the projections your body becomes a screen, first on one side, and then the opposite. According to whatever side of the room you are positioned in, the height of the first beam you enter differs from the second. The pace of the moving lines feels predestined or inevitable - taking twenty-five minutes to complete the cycle - and though the haze makes you very aware of the shapes of the juxtaposed cones, you are also cognisant of the moving 3D forms enclosed within them, the extended crisscrossing lines and angled curved ‘sheets’ - like large rolls of curled paper - that you ‘bump’ into passing through.
The movement within the each beam is quite mesmerising. Its slow steady pace and revolving direction generates visual tensions as the lines swivel and cross, holding your attention while you compare both ends of the room, studying how the two linear configurations are effected by perspective. The smoke has a faint smell that gets into your mouth, its clammy dampness going down your neck. The room in a sense osmotically absorbs you. You blend into its forms. There is a hint of Robert Morris’s sixties L-beam sculpture/installation here, experiencing the same image twice, simultaneously - but different. And dematerialised.
Drawing as cross-section is elaborated on further in the stockroom display behind the dark curtains; a couple of suites of framed drawings. The way McCall places curved lines onto paper suggests the moving folds of a swinging curtain or a piece of loosely draped fabric, suspended within vertical cones. One set of 2012 seven drawings (instructions for a performance) plots the ‘movement’ of light-bulbs in a suspended grid, new bulbs being methodically turned on (in sequence, one at a time) while others are systematically extinguished. This creates shifting formations of light in a matrix. It is related in its method to Landscape For Fire (1972) an outdoor featuring a 6 x 6 grid of small fires (in containers) in a landscape at dusk, a dramatic video presented by Clark in a group show held when her gallery first opened.