Perspectives 178: CINEPLEX transforms CAMH’s Zilkha Gallery into a unique cinémathèque space for a celebration of the expansive nature of moving image media and the power of montage. CINEPLEX explores the landscape of cinematic experience through various artists’ reflections on, responses to, and transformations of movie culture. Unfolding over the course of twelve weeks of projections, screenings, and events, the exhibition features a variety of experimental works, essay films, documentaries, and live cinema events that appropriate and creatively transform existing movie material. In addition to weekly Thursday evening screenings and events throughout the run of the exhibition, many projected works will be on view during regular museum hours in installation format as well.
Early in the history of moving pictures, filmmakers discovered the unique and unmistakable power inherent in juxtaposing disparate images to create new contexts. Independent artists began to use montage techniques to reassemble existing film images for different, often more expressive and metaphoric results. Over time, along with the evolution of cinematic language, an ongoing conversation has developed among film’s images, its makers, and its audiences. With the Internet serving as both a moving image archive and a fluid distribution outlet, this kind of audio-visual communication has become more common, and homemade YouTube movie remixes have become the folk art of our times. We are now able to view the layered histories of these shared experiences of movies and their evolving language from a new perspective.
CINEPLEX functions as a twenty-first-century nickelodeon of sorts—a pop-up microcinema presenting a variety of creative, cinematic interventions in a darkened space of shared ritual along with drinks and snacks. The ever-changing exhibition features both historic and contemporary film reworkings, from the very first “found footage” films made in the 1930s by assemblage artist Joseph Cornell, to Christian Marclay’s first foray into movie collage, to new movie dissections by contemporary Austrian artist Martin Arnold. We present film collage as social critique, advancing from the work of pioneering experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner to the delirious Tribulation 99 (1991) by Craig Baldwin, one of Conner’s disciples. Documentaries by Thom Anderson and Sophie Fiennes dig deep into scenes from popular cinema. Frederic Brodbeck’s motion-graphic representations of movies; a rapid-fire, stroboscopic work by Les LeVeque; new work by Texas film artists including Kelly Sears; and a live audio-visual performance by video design team Be Johnny offer exciting, new perspectives on our engagement with cinema. In all, CINEPLEX includes over fifty film/video works from five countries. Together they comprise a collaged history of our celebrated cinematic dreams and a creative conversation between the dreams and the dreamers.
Perspectives 178 : CINEPLEX is organized by Peter Lucas, Education Associate at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Lucas has been Associate Program Director of Northwest Film Forum; Film Programmer with the Seattle International Film Festival; and an independent curator of film, video, and live cinema programs at Henry Art Gallery, Experience Music Project, Cornish College of the Arts, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and Aurora Picture Show.
SCHEDULE OF WORKS ON VIEW IN THE ZILKHA GALLERY
On view April 13–July 8
Telephones,Christian Marclay, USA, 1995
white and fifteen movies starring Charlton Heston, Les LeVeque, USA, 2010
Cinemetrics, Frederic Brodbeck, The Netherlands, 2012
If We Don’t, Remember Me,Gustaf Mantel, Germany, 2012
On view April 13–May 3
Mongoloid, Bruce Conner, USA, 1978
America Is Waiting, Bruce Conner, USA, 1981
Mea Culpa, Bruce Conner, USA, 1981
On view May 4–May 31
Shadow Cuts,Martin Arnold, Austria, 2010
Soft Palate, Martin Arnold, Austria, 2010
On view June 1–July 5
Untitled (Silver),Takeshi Murata, USA, 2006
On view July 6–8
Mess with Texas, Various artists, USA, 2012