Monday, 12 January 2009

Lehmann Maupin

I recently visited the Lehmann Maupin Gallery on 201 Christie St. Even though it is a small space with a limited collection, it has some very cool work and represents well-known artists like Juergen Teller. I really liked Mr.'s 35-minute short film "Nobody Dies," which can be succinctly summarized as a sexually frustrated, older geek's attempt to bring anime out of animation. Well, what does that mean? I was going to elaborate, but Cool Hunting's description is pretty much on the money:
" ... about a group of adolescent Japanese girls who partake in a paintball riddled war game of capture-the-flag.

Carefully toeing the line between perversion and commentary, the film is a continuation of the artist's investigation into the Otaku subculture and its fetishization of kawaii, or cuteness. Roughly half the film documents the everyday lives of these young girls while the second act features the group costumed in neon camo-garb (also designed by Mr.) and taking their game a little too literally. Throughout the film, the camera lingers suggestively on the girls, like the eyes of a shut-in comic geek, making for an altogether uncomfortable viewing. Which is likely the point."

Shots of adolescent (looking) girls in tight-fitting neon costumery and sexualized situations left me feeling a little repulsed and slightly surreal (can you feel surreal?); but on the whole the film was very interesting.

Upstairs were Tracey Emin's neon words: "Her Soft Lips Touched mine And Every Thing Became Hard." I lingered thinking about what that meant to me. At first, 'hard' seemed to mean complicated, difficult, painful; but after a few minutes 'hard' felt grey, jagged, bleak, cracking like dried clay - I pictured kissing someone who turned into stone and crumbled as the world collapsed around me. I then strolled grey, debris-filled streets alone with a blank expression. It was very alarming. 

I also liked this painting:

Unfortunately I don't know the title or artist. Maybe I'll call the gallery to find out. To me it was like rubber-band man trying to break out of his plasticky, insanity-inducing, two-dimensional world - in other words: the life of a floundering, bourgeois, pseudo-intellectual philosophe in 21st century society.