No Longer Showing.
For his first New York City solo exhibition, O’Brien O’Connell takes an encounter with the iconic work of industrial designer and illustrator John Vassos as a starting point. Desks, cameras, microphones and other materials for constructing and retaining take on roles as mnemonic and perceptual devices in various states of assembly and exposure. In a multi-channel video entitled Every movement does have a background, but every background is potentially useless, O’Brien O’Connell uses set and camera to mirror tropes such as the filmic wipe to conflate the subject and medium into a vertiginous space of heightened creative emblems. Within the video, an animation extracts characters from Vassos's 1931 book Phobia, an illustrated interpretation of myriad phobias related to urban life. The accompanying descriptions were florid, yet revealing in their inter-war fixations on psychoanalytical allegory.
The graphic simplicity of O’Brien O’Connell’s video is complicated by non-diegetic sound and voice-overs from multiple performers. This audio conveys the artist’s continued investigation of assumed narrative trust and authority within the monologue format; authorship and articulation are punctuated by irreverent confusion and translation. Alongside the video, sculptures and photographs extend the examination of sublimated fear by way of design and objects, while the initial legibility of these familiar forms and mediums is impeded by O’Brien O’Connell’s representation and installation. A series of black and white photographs depict images of objects taken from a book published in 1979. These objects act as placeholders, shifting the symbolic importance of various motifs in the elementary construction of knowledge that appear throughout the exhibition.
Curated by Lumi Tan.
Boru O’Brien O’Connell’s Draft, Capture, — is made possible with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jerome Foundation, Dedalus Foundation, Inc., Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and with public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional production support and residency provided by EMPAC/Experimental Media and Performing Artist Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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