Twenty One Twelve
Postmasters is pleased to announce Twenty One Twelve, its sixth exhibition with Jennifer and Kevin McCoy and their 10th year with the gallery.
Pioneering new media artists whose works explore both time-based and physical reality, the McCoys are perhaps best recognized for constructing subjective databases of film and television material and for creating miniature film sets with live video cameras.
The integration of sculpture and video continues in their new exhibition. Pointing to a time 100 years from today Twenty One Twelve connects current trends with future failures and potential transformations. For this show the McCoys have created a series of ten sculptures which depict the landscapes of today and tomorrow. Corporate campuses, parking lots, man-made mountains, resort architecture, and factories all collide with a globalized media infrastructure. This framework exists to support utopian goals, even as it rests upon resource depletion, financial instabilities, and entropic decay. The problems of environmental and economic collapse persist in the face of the rhetoric of the assumed benefits of continued economic expansion and a technological future.
The gallery’s main space contains eight projects. The sculptures have titles that read like locations in a film script: Between the Resorts and Near the Communications Tower and Next to the Parking Lot. They present liminal spaces, areas posited to be next to the desirable landmarks of contemporary life. In Behind the Hillside, we do not see the eponymous hill, we see rather the debris landfill behind it. In some works, photographic backgrounds are embedded into eccentric land masses that extend and question the locations of the photograph’s ostensible place. Each of these eight works also contain small video screens that are embedded into the ground or raised like electronic billboards over the top of the landscapes. The screens provide references to natural (though highly electronically processed) states that can be imagined to be prior or alternative to the wrecked environments.
In the back gallery, the McCoys present two works which compound these effects with the addition of live cameras, live software, and projection, which propel their speculations into an imagined future. In Chrysalis, a blue tower rises, cracked open to reveal a fleshy pink interior structure. Scaffolding on the surface provides scale and suggests human presence, either within or without. The video projection and Prog-rock inspired soundtrack deliver an image of future conditions.
In Priest of the Temple, an office building juts out of a Mt. Rushmore-style mountain. The embedded video is based on the actions of a Silicon Valley hotel spa. Behind the building, a portrait of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore looms like a Pyongyang mural. Gordon Moore’s prophetic observation, Moore’s Law, states that the computing power of a microchip will double every two years. Moore himself in a 2005 interview provided an amendment to this law when he added, “The law can’t continue forever. The nature of exponentials is that you push them out and eventually disaster happens.”
The works of Jennifer and Kevin McCoy have been widely exhibited in the US and internationally – including shows at Museum of Modern Art in New York, British Film Institute-Southbank in London, the Hannover Kunstverein, the Beall Center in Irvine, CA, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, and most recently EMPAC Center at Rensselear Polytechnic in Albany where some of the sculptures from Twenty One Twelve premiered in spring 2012. In January their work will be included in the exhibition Hors Pistes at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.