28/11/2008 > 24/01/2009
Opening on 28/11/2008, from 7 pm to 9 pm
One of the most renowned video artists of her generation, ANNIKA LARSSON has pioneered since her first works at the end of the 90's an innovating style and singular themes, which she keeps exploring in her most recent pieces. Her videos only stage men, engaging in actions that are usually associated with the masculine sphere of which they explore the symbolic language, be it the relationship to rules and the different forms of control or the codes and expressions of power, submission and violence.
For her third show at COSMIC GALERIE, ANNIKA LARSSON presents her new video, Dolls (2008, 47 min.), that deepens in a rigorous way her reflection on the position of the spectator facing artificial situations and their various layers of mediation.
More abstract than her previous works and synthetizing a complex body of underlying references, Dolls is composed of three parts. They all take place in the same closed space, a full-fledged character in itself, between the contemporary art "white cube" and a sports ground. Painted on the ground and the walls, lines and symbols are borrowed from Suprematism or Futurism as well as from signs that are used to teach humanoid robots how to find their way and execute some tasks in a given space. The three lines on the wall are thus taken from a New Order album cover by Peter SAVILLE, itself inspired by the cover of an issue of the Futurist journal by Fortunato DEPERO.
In this artificial playground are simultaneously or separately evolving five men, of which three only are acting and moving, interacting with the symbols and elements of the setting, following rules we ignore. Each part of the video corresponds to a "game" consisting in accomplishing sometimes banal, sometimes obscure tasks to which the protagonists bend with the impassibility of machines.
While the banal actions, serving coffee, brandishing a sledge-hammer, etc., inspired by the basic tasks the first humanoid robots were entrusted with and filmed in a both seducing and frightening slow motion, border on absurdity, the other actions are originated in a body of fetishism-related practices. Crushing objects in close-up with ski boots or crampon mountain shoos thus refers to a sub-genre of "stomping", a fascination that is largely widespread on Internet.
Puppets entirely devoted to the mechanical accomplishment of daily tasks with no further meaning than their instant realisation, these men's supposed professional skills and social function, notably symbolized by their costumes and uniforms, seem to have lost their meaning, just like the objects they are activating. The precision of the framing, the playing on close-ups and slow-motions all contribute to a derealizing effect. So does the soundtrack written by the New York electronic musician Sean McBRIDE, which reinforces the dramatic tension of the coldish images.