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IMA to Present Video Exhibition Examining the Relationship Between Camera Frame and Unbounded Space
Kate Gilmore, Main Squeeze, 2006. Single channel video, 4:59. Image courtesy of the artist.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today that it will present Framed, an exhibition featuring videos created by five emerging and mid-career solo artists and one artistic collaborative—contextualizing their work in relation to influential early films by Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra. The exhibition, organized by the IMA, will highlight artists who have used video to investigate the space between self and environment, self and other, and the divide between what is recorded by a camera and the expanse of unmediated life. These works strategically employ video not only as a means of documentation, but also to call attention to how the camera frame delineates space. Framed will be on view in the IMA’s McCormack Forefront Galleries from November 5, 2010 to March 6, 2011.

Instrumental figures in the emerging medium of video in the 1960s and 70s, Nauman and Serra staged repetitive actions within defined spaces in ways that proved inspirational for artists working today. In his film Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square (1967-68), Nauman creates a square of masking tape on his studio floor and systematically moves around its perimeter to the sound of a metronome. Serra’s film Frame (1969) similarly documents a methodical action within the camera’s lens, depicting the artist as he makes four sets of measurements with a six-inch ruler of a window frame and a film projection of the same window frame. His action emphasizes the perceptual disparity between what is seen through the lens of a camera and the direct visual perception of the same space.

Nauman’s and Serra’s seminal works provide the historical context for the more recent works featured in Framed. These include a selection of videos by artists who revisit and expand major themes of early video art including measurement, duration, masochism, collaboration, and public interventions,

• New York-based artist Kate Gilmore will create a new performative video in the IMA’s McCormack Forefront Galleries, in which—as in many of her works—she will document her process of overcoming a self-constructed obstacle. Also on display will be Gilmore’s work Main Squeeze (2006), in which she undertakes the arduous and absurd task of forcing her body through a tight rectangular tunnel. Roughly corresponding to the area of the camera frame, the space that Gilmore navigates comes to embody not only the rigid border dividing seen from unseen, but also the confines of gender construction and metaphorical limits of artistic expression.

• Israeli artist Sigalit Landau’s Day Done (2007) draws on an ancient Jewish ritual in which part of the wall of a newly built house is deliberately left unpainted or unplastered in order to commemorate historical acts of destruction. In this video, Landau inverts this custom by covering a circular space around the window of her Tel Aviv studio with black paint, yet as day turns to night, a man appears and paints over this area with white paint. Presented as a continuous loop, night soon becomes day again and the cycle repeats itself.

• Lilly McElroy’s The Square—After Roberto Lopardo (2004) documents the artist over a period of 30 minutes as she draws a square in chalk on a city sidewalk and attempts to block all pedestrians from entering the space she has demarcated. McElroy’s deadpan performance as she aggressively claims this public space provokes varied responses from the pedestrians she encounters. The Square cleverly plays out the tensions and unspoken expectations that lie between private and public spaces in the modern world.

• While South Africa-born, Berlin-based artist Robin Rhode is known for staging recorded performances that incorporate city walls or streets and chalk or paint as backdrops, he takes to the studio for his 2008 work Promenade. Typical of his highly reductive video and photographic works, Rhode interacts with lines and shapes he has drawn on the wall of his studio. In Promenade,Rhode conjures up a series of chalk diamonds that eventually dominate the wall and engulf the artist before he is able to wrest back control of his creation and reclaim the defined space of the studio wall.

• In Perfect Square (2006), Melanie Schiff sets up an underwater camera to record her quiet, poetic movements as she tries to swim, unsuccessfully, in a perfect square within the frame of the camera. Schiff’s ground is an emerald green pool of water that not only serves as a container for her body, but also as a mirror for the moving clouds and piercing sun above. The imprecise shape of Schiff’s route through the water contrasts sharply with the definite border of the camera’s frame, calling attention to the discrepancy between the human desire for precision and symmetry, and the loosely defined parameters of nature and human movement.

• Type A’s Mark (2002) documents the collaborative’s two members, Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin, as they use their bodies to create drawings in chalk on their studio floor. The artists begin with an exercise to explore differences between their heights, repeating the process until the chalk lines become blurred. The second segment shows each performer filling in the shared space between them with chalk marks, creating a form that represents a cooperative process. In the third segment, the artists fill the floor completely with chalk, taking over the entire territory of the screen. This clever exercise in the mapping of personal and shared territory explores the nature of collaborative relationships through competition, challenge, and play.

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