On Stellar Rays is pleased to present Tommy Hartung’s second solo exhibition, an ambitious expansion of and conscious departure from his work in video to date.
Comprised of a single channel HD video and multi-faceted installation, Hartung addresses the problem of achieving credible representations of violence in today’s highly saturated visual culture and the paradoxical failure of emancipatory ideologies to serve the interests of ordinary people. Neither conclusive diagnosis, nor straightforward political commentary, the exhibition attempts instead to foreground the pathos of political promise, set against a formal and historical trajectory of Realist literature, cinema and art.
Anna (2011), the central video, takes its name from the main character in Leo Tolstoy’s realist masterpiece Anna Karenina. Though Anna is not directly represented, the societal conflict and personal desperation she experiences is acutely embodied in a cast of dismembered and dejected figurative sculptures. These androgynous effigies move through states of disorientation, hostility and playfulness, bound by communal acts of labor. Stop motion sequences shot in the studio are layered with superimposed scenes from the Soviet socialist realist film Earth (1930) and computer simulations of crowd movement, figuratively projecting ideas of mass politicization onto artificial constructions of the pastoral and rural.