Samuel Rousseau’s last exhibition at Parker’s Box featured a number of beautiful projections cast on architectural, plastic jerry can “cities,” detailing the lives of busy inhabitants always on the go.
The artist, who is shortlisted for the Marcel Duchamp Prize, gives a preview of what he will be offering at the Grand Palais in the coming weeks with his short but sweet homage to the big apple, Brave Old New World.
Three eponymous, crest-like bas-reliefs play the support role this time around to Rousseau’s projections. The sculptured white boards replicate the shaped montages of skyscrapers and skyline of the actual buildings superimposed over them. Like bagpipes on the wall, the simple projections detail the buildings extending and retracting like pistons, spitting out smoke and breathing life into a sad old instrument. The musician and musical organ, as it turns out, are equally willing and able.
Rousseau’s largest projection, Untitled (The Tree and Its Shadow) (2008-11), is less amplified and more subtle. A diminutive, barren tree stands in the gallery. A light draws its silhouette onto the wall behind it, and there the magic happens. Through the cycle of the seasons, the silhouette expands as branches grow and leaves flourish, eventually receding and contracting to its original, real counterpart form. Like nature, it is complex in its simplicity. And always perfect.
The artist has a fine eye for giving form to the short narratives that really go a long way. However busy, under whatever circumstance, they seemingly find that meditative state of edification and being.
Images: Brave Old New World, 2011, medium board, acrylic, video projection. 41 3/4 x 27 1/2 x 1in; Untitled (The Tree and Its Shadow), 2008-11, tree branch, video projection, variable dimensions. Courtesy Parker’s Box.