Inside the White Cube: William E. Jones
Originally trained as a filmmaker in Los Angeles, William E. Jones’ artistic practice analyses the political content of archival material – such as found film footage or documentary photographs – to highlight the inherent relationship between images and power.
For this exhibition, Jones has been a scripophilist, appropriating nineteenth and twentieth century stock certificates that traditionally symbolise monetary value through the pictorialisation of idealised manhood and physical strength. Inspired by the recent crash of the Euro and the US recession, Jones examined numerous company share certificates that had illustrated headers, such as those of the Harlem and New York Railroad or the Inland Steel Company, Pittsburgh. These certificates depict allegorical figures such as an Adonis-like man wearing a crown of leaves or a heroic manual labourer wielding an axe or sledgehammer, which have been selected and montaged together from the catalogue of standard engravings that were held by printing companies. These incongruous figures, with their collaged anatomical parts, were designed to reflect an image of solid investment and represented what Jarett Kobek has described as, “the principle authority of an unknown, faceless entity”. Jones has enlarged and printed these images to a human scale to further instil their heroic yet, ill-proportioned designs, each colour coded to represent their honouree value.
Alongside this installation of prints, Jones is presenting two recent films: Mission Mind Control (2012) and Maneuver (2011). Both films continue to question the control strategies implemented by authorities such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In Mission Mind Control, Jones uses a taped recording from a 1979 television programme on the CIA as well as the commercials in between its broadcast, digitally abstracting the imagery into a psychedelic animation which he then periodically re-inserts into the original footage. This flip-flop method hints at themes of brainwashing – not only by the media but also by the CIA who were covertly experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs at the time. Taken from a Soviet film called ‘Heirs of Victory’ (1975), Maneuver commemorates the final advancement of allied forces in World War II whereupon the Soviet army soldiers are filmed heroically diving into and, inversely, out of a wall of flames. Jones carefully re-choreographed the figures in this loop so that they mirror each other, immersing them from time to time into a moiré of coloured interference.
William E. Jones was born in Canton, Ohio in 1962. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include: The Whitney Biennial, New York (2008), Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2009) and 12th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2011). Solo presentations of his films have taken place at Tate Modern (2005), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2007) and Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). William will be doing a Q&A on Saturday, September 8th, 2012 at 3pm to coincide with an Artists’ Film Club screening of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.
Through film, sculpture, drawing and painting, French artist Isabelle Cornaro re-evaluates objects by exploring the tensions between their aesthetic and cultural value and by questioning meaning through formal and conceptual modes of display.
Cornaro uses scanning, photography and plaster casting as her methods of production. Through meticulous arrangements, she investigates the properties of objects and the historicity they can point to or steer away from. Homonyms (II) (2012), for example, are coloured plaster casts taken from soft materials such as laces, quilts and carpets. The misplaced use of colour and materiality of their new form alters their original identity and disrupts how these transformed objects are perceived. In the film, Money filmed from the side and a three-quarter view (2010), Cornraro portrays actual coins and Euro notes being transformed into abstract forms through the cinematic use of light and colour. The preoccupation with spatiality and light in the film brings currency’s aesthetic into the composition, stripping the importance of its monetary value. Cornaro creates differing landscapes in her work, welcoming new reflections on the ideology of object and space.
Born in 1974 in France, Isabelle Cornaro lives and works in Paris. Recent solo exhibitions include, Le Magasin, 2012, FRAC (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art) Aquitaine, France (2012), Le Collège des Bernardins, Paris (2011), 1m3, Lausanne (2011), Centre d’Art Contemporain de Troyes, Troyes (2010), Kunstverein Düsseldorf (2009), Recent group shows include Intense Proximité/y, Paris Triennale, Palais de Tokyo (2012), Un'espressione geografica, Fondazione Sandretto, Turin (2011), Vide-Poche, Sculpture Center, New-York (2011), Projection, Centre Pompidou (2011), Paris, Sharjah Biennale, UAE (2011), Unto This Last, Raven Row, London (2010), The square, the Line and the Light, Tate Modern, London (2010)