O Rinoceronte de Durer (Durer´s Rhinoceros), 2010. 16mm film transferred to high definition video, color, stereo video, color, stereo sound.
REDCAT: Opening reception: Saturday, April 5, 6–9pm
A co-production between REDCAT and Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, Games are forbidden in the labyrinth is Javier Téllez’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast. The exhibition features a newly commissioned installation Chess (2014) and Téllez’s film Dürer's Rhinoceros (2010) in which the artist reflects on the social and historical conception of the psychiatric institution: from architectural structures to technologies and treatments.
Mostly known for his films, Téllez works in collaboration with psychiatric patients or people with disabilities as protagonists. Combining documentary with fictional narratives, often taken from literature and cinema, the artist questions the definitions and social prejudices established between the concepts of normality and pathology. The strategy of using invisible or socially marginalized characters thus becomes a way for the artist to contaminate certain totalitarian versions of history, giving voice to those who usually have none, reflecting a form of resistance to the normalization and homogenization that is characteristic of the dominant discourse.
The point of departure for the exhibition is Dürer's Rhinoceros, shot in the panopticon of the Miguel Bombarda psychiatric hospital in Lisbon. Operational until 2011, the facility was built in 1896 according to Jeremy Bentham’s model to house the criminally insane. Téllez asked patients from a daily clinic to imagine stories of the former patients in the deserted old cells of the psychiatric hospital. This reconstruction of the everyday life of the institution was complemented by voice-overs reading texts from sources such as Bentham’s letter presenting the Panoptic, Plato’s Cave, and Kafka’s short story The Burrow, concerned with different architectural models related to the power of surveillance.
The front part of the gallery—the foyer for the projected film—is a giant chess game, which functions as a collective space to develop a trompe l´oeil of the delirium. One can imagine this chess-asylum as an anthology of the artist’s research on the history of mental institutions, confronting symbolically the institution, the treatments and the patients in an ideological battle: mental illness is consciously presented as a socio-historical construct, and not exclusively as a biological anomaly. The installation seeks to explain the role of medical treatments and psychological techniques as mechanisms of social control that conceal implicit socioeconomic contradictions. The patterns of the board—which also allude to a hospital floor—are invaded by a series of assemblages that function as the main organs of a sterile machine. These pieces appear dissected, showing the core of its constitution, incorporating the narrative of objects, historical moments, and images from literature and film that have contributed to the treatment of mental illness. They further provide references to renowned patients such as Antonin Artaud, Unica Zürn and Adolf Wölfli twentieth-century characters who articulated their own language informed by their condition. The figures and objects in the installation and video work will momentarily abandon the domesticated situation to which they have been reduced, to address the set rules and discourse that previously evaluated and institutionalized them.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with essays by Dieter Roelstraete (Senior Curator at the MCA, Chicago), Ruth Estévez (gallery director and curator at REDCAT) and Javier Téllez.
Javier Téllez lives and works in New York. His work has been shown internationally in venues such as MoMA PS1, New York; ZKM, Karlsruhe; KW, Berlin; Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; The Power Plant, Toronto; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; SMAK, Museum for Contemporary Art, Ghent; and Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam. He took part in TRACK (2012) in Ghent, dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), Lyon Biennale (2011), Whitney Biennale (2008), Manifesta (2008), Sydney Biennale (2008 and 2004), Yokohama Triennale (2001) and Venice Biennale (2003 and 2001). Javier Téllez is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow (1999) and was a guest of the DAAD Artist programme in Berlin from 2010 to 2011.
CalArts, Roy O. Disney Music Hall
MUSIC: Choiceless Awareness is posited in philosophy, psychology and spirituality to be the state of unpremeditated, complete awareness of the present without preference, effort or compulsion. The term was popularized by Jiddu Krishnamurti, in whose philosophy it signifies a main theme.
The project places ten pairs of cloth wardrobes around CalArts. Each pair of wardrobes hosts a performer and a listener. Everyday for one week, the wardrobes will be arranged in different places, all gradually getting closer to the Roy O. Disney Music Hall, where the final performance will be.
D300 Gallery: Mark Desiderio MFA 2 ART
D301 Gallery: Chiquita Landfill Scholarship Exhibition
L-Shape Gallery: Finley Still BFA 4 ART
Main Gallery: Alexander Woods BFA 4 PHOTO/MEDIA
A402 Gallery: Eve LaFountain MFA 2 PHOTO/MEDIA (& FILM)
Lime Gallery: Yaron Guerrero MFA 2 PHOTO/MEDIA
Mint Gallery: Melanie Berry MFA 2 ART
CalArts, Courtyard Annex
CRITICAL STUDIES: MA & MFA Critical Studies students have created a book and will be reading from it.
ART: Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe on Luciano Perna:
From the point of view of people addicted to categorization, of course, there is a category for everything including one which is the category for things which don’t fit into categories. And it is there that one finds some very interesting things, events and ideas. Luciano Perna is an artist whose work seems very elusive when it comes to categorizing it, not least because it seems to appeal to several categories at once. It is Duchampian, certainly, but it is just as much Futurist and Constructivist. It is Surrealist, but in a curiously non-Freudian way. The artist once told me that he found Warhol inspiring but I’ve never seen in his work any of the campy conservatism of the Most Famous Flaneur of All, so it must have been the old reactionary inventiveness to which he was referring, and there I think he may have a point. Perna is one of the most vividly inventive artists around, and the invention begins with the very odd reasoning which, in every sense, becomes the subject of the work.
One could recall Foucault on Brissset, the 19th–century French thinker who was so important to Breton, and who proposed that instead of the conventional wisdom which sees different words as having a common source in an originally very limited lexicon, one should rather reverse this assumption and think of words as concentrations (condensations) of a multiplicity of origins. This would be a good way of thinking about any work of art (and any text), but it seems especially pertinent to work like Perna’s.
CalArts, Bijou Auditorium
FILM/VIDEO: Double Bill
Program in Film/Video alumni
Rhys Ernst and Mariah Garnett will present several short films and video pieces
Rhys Ernst is a filmmaker and an artist; he writes and directs films about transgender people, cats, and dysfunctional couples (among other things). He occasionally works in other mediums, such as photography, painting and music. He received his MFA in Film/Video at CalArts in 2011 and a BA from Hampshire College in 2004. His MFA thesis film The Thing premiered at Sundance 2012. His following film She Gone Rogue premiered at the 2012 “Made in LA” Los Angeles Biennial at the Hammer Museum and won a Jury Award at Outfest 2013. Past screening venues include Oberhausen, Ann Arbor Film Festival, UCLA Hammer Museum, REDCAT, LACE, and his work will be included in the upcoming 2014 Whitney Biennial. He was named 2010 HBO Point Scholar and a 2012 Project: Involve Fellow. He received a Gold Plaque at the 2003 Chicago International Film Festival and a 2003 Princess Grace Award Honorarium. He is currently developing new films, screenplays and art works. He lives in Los Angeles.
Mariah Garnett is an experimental filmmaker and artist living and working in Los Angeles. Her work seeks to occupy a space between convention and experimentation—or, rather, to experiment with convention. The boundaries of adaptation, documentary and fiction are continually being drawn and re-drawn in her work. A big part of her practice involves finding people or things out in the world to inhabit for a spell. For the most part, these figures are significant, though many times unknown, players in queer history. These twisted homages go so far as to ingest and regurgitate identities to the point where the maker’s motivation is called into question.
Garnett holds an MFA from Calarts in Film/Video and a BA from Brown University in American Civilization. Her work has been screened internationally including the following venues: Venice Biennial (Swiss Offsite Pavillion), Rencontres Internationales (Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Beiruit), Outfest (Los Angeles), Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis), Mix NYC, Girl Monster (Hamburg).
In 2012 she took part in a 2 person show Common Era at ltd los angeles. In 2011 she had a solo show at Human Resources Gallery in Los Angeles titled Encounters I May or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin and has had work in group shows at Acuna Hansen Gallery (Los Angeles), Montehermoso Cultural Center (Vittoria, Spain) and Workspace Gallery (Los Angeles). She has collaborated with artists Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Zackary Drucker, A.L. Steiner and Chiara Giovando. She is represented by ltd los angeles.
CalArts, The Wild Beast
MUSIC: Woks by DeFalla, LeBaron (West Coast Premiere), Poulenc, Schubert and Lindsay, featuring guest artists Jessica Waithe, Nandani Sinha, Tali Tadmor and the Isaura String Quartet.