Words like psychedelic get trotted out by acid amateurs at every flickering bulb and swirl of color. Real psychedelic experiences are punishing in their power: a nauseating kaleidoscope; a universe decentered and dismantled; still things gyrate and dancers stay still in a blurry wash of purest energy; atoms are split inside your skull and come bursting through glassy eyes; other humans dissolve into electric atmospheres and social mores collapse into mere theater.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's L'Enfer is truly psychedelic. It is an acid experience in every beautiful and terrifying way. Here the film director's experiments with light and time in this unfinished masterpiece play on the troubled face of Romy Schneider, forced to work slave's hours without rest till her fragile psyche frayed away, later on a suicide. This compelling excerpt of the film centers an exhibition of precise and elegant geometry.
Florian & Michael Quistrebert, still from The Eighth Sphere, 2010, double channel video installation, 1'41 looped; Courtesy of the Artist and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE).
Julio Le Parc's kinetic sculptures spin and shift simple abstractions. Florian & Michael Quistrebert's double projection mirrors and unmirrors an undulating and radiant array upon a chromed corner. Isabelle Cornaro's video of currency shifts and defamiliarizes the common coin. Pierre-Laurent Cassière's light bulb beamed into life by lasers elicits a soft and disorienting rumble.
Curator Martha Kirszenbaum and scenographer Marianne Zamecznik's precise arrangement exudes a control in all these kinetic sculptures and phenomenological light shows. Sensual and sensorial, the exhibition makes the intimacy of the darkened gallery a necessary nightscape, a room roomy enough to hold all the phantasms of an expanding consciousness, one that threatens to dissolve but is held just so by the curved ceiling and unbroken walls of the gallery and the shimmering clarity of its curatorial vision.
[Image on top: Isabelle Cornaro, still from De l’argent filmé de profil et de trois quarts [Money filmed from a side view and a three-quarter view] , 2010, 16 mm transferred to DVD, 02 :13 min.; Courtesy of the Artist and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE).]