"i too think there is a higher power, a supreme force, a governor, a something that controls the universe. What it is & in what form i do not know. it may be that our intellect or spirit exists in space in some other form after it parts from this body. nothing is impossible and we know that nothing is destroyed, it only changes chemically. We burn up a house and its contents, we change the form but the same elements exist; gas, vapor, ashes. they are all just the same."
a letter from Jackson pollock's father to him, 1928
For Jubilee, his first show with the gallery, Karthik Pandian presents a two channel 16mm film that explores artistic affect, the historical avant-garde and the performance of creativity - a fever dream of the early 60s haunted by the present.
Drawing on references such as Jean Genet's The Blacks, the "structured improvisations" incubated in the Judson Dance Theater, as well as contemporary reimaginings of the era epitomized by the television series mad men, the film presents fragmentary documentation of "a happening in two takes" staged for the camera - and no audience - in an anonymous black-box theater. in the first "take" performers step in and out of roles such as "painter," "director," and "dancer," improvising and repeating actions around a set of parameters put into motion by the rolling of dice. the second "take" presents an attempt to repeat the first. the two "takes", looped and projected on top of one another from either side of a screen suspended in the center of the gallery, emphasize both the impossibility and ecstatic potential of such an attempt, as well as the circularity of modernism's pursuit of "the new."
The tension between the restless activity of the film and the rigidity of its installation is mirrored in a series of four new paintings presented in the adjacent gallery. executed by dripping and throwing black enamel paint onto panels of white powder-coated steel wire mesh, the works are suspended between gestures of authenticity and fabrication, improvisation and structure.
Jubilee is the second in a series of exhibitions in which Pandian reinterprets the same performance through different materials, attitudes and modes of presentation. the first, entitled carousel, was pre- sented at the Hammer museum, Los Angeles in 2012.
Karthik Pandian (born Los Angeles, 1981) lives and works in Los Angeles. He has presented solo exhibitions at White Flag Projects, St. Louis (2011), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010), Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2010) and Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles (2009). 2012 exhibitions for Pandian include made in L.A., Los Angeles Biennial, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; La Triennale, Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and the Marrakech Biennale 4, Marrakech.