Creative Destruction: Performative Videos Fill Montserrat Gallery

January 11, 2013

WHAT Exhibition: Absent | Present
WHEN January 25 – March 30
WHERE Montserrat Gallery, 23 Essex Street, Beverly
Reception: Thursday, January 24, 5 – 8 pm
Gallery Hours: M – F 10-5, Th 10-8, Sat 12-5

Montserrat College of Art presents Absent | Present, an exhibition featuring Kate Gilmore and Zsuzsanna Szegedi. With multi-layered video pieces, video projection, drawing and performative video, Gilmore and Szegedi challenge the boundaries of contemporary artistic practice and the location of the ‘artwork’ within each piece. The exhibition features works that question where and when a work of art begins and/or ends. Exhibition Curator Leonie Bradbury proposes that these works of art exist at multiple temporal and spatial sites simultaneously.

Additionally, each artist calls attention to the maker’s presence and absence within their work. Gilmore is front and center in the majority of her pieces, while Szegedi appears like a ghostlike figure, shimmering in and out of the frame. Both artists question the role of documentation in performative work and expand the role of video as a medium beyond the binary purpose of video as either document or art to a point where it is both, and still functions as one of many sites where the artwork takes place.

Gilmore shares an interest in physical risk common around the turn of the 1970s to artists such as Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Marina Abramovic and Carolee Schneemann. The all-out commitment of effort that Gilmore demands of herself keeps at bay an obvious question: whether she acts as herself in her work or plays bizarrely motivated and situated characters. The exhibition will feature three of her seminal video pieces Between a Hard Place (2008), Buster (2011), and Sudden as a Massacre (2012).

Szegedi’s process-oriented videos regard the concept of “completeness” and “transience” in a durational medium. The common thread is the creation and deconstruction of a given image. With time-lapse photo documentation the entire drawing or erasing process is preserved. The exhibition will feature three animations of previously erased drawing performative events, Mid-Conversational Merge (2010), Former Presence (2011), Wet Destruction (2012) and a newly commissioned wall mural A Proper Erasure. A Proper Erasure, will feature a projected animation of an earlier manifestation of an erased drawing alongside a site-specific continuation of this drawing drawn directly on the gallery wall. The drawing will be erased by the public in two “erasing events,” the time-lapse documentation of this action will become an animation on view on a monitor placed on top of the erased drawing in the gallery.