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"Loop: Back to the Beginning"
2002-09-07 until 2003-01-05
Contemporary Arts Center
Cincinnati, OH, USA

Advances in science and technology have dramatically altered the way we experience and think about time. With the aid of computers, we can infinitely manipulate digital technologies. Scientists have made remarkable discoveries in physical and biological sciences. Add to the mix lightning-speed communication and easily accessible global travel, and you’ve got a host of new experiences and understandings of time. Loop: Back to the Beginning brings together 18 artists who use the “loop” both as metaphor and physical structure for investigating our altered perceptions of time. 

Assembled by Klaus Biesenbach, Loop examines the phenomenon of cyclical time as illustrated by the repeated gesture or event. In each of the works included in this exhibition, time becomes a sculptural component. Time is chopped up, carved, compressed, chased, inverted and reconstituted into small sections and always returned to a previous state. The resulting effect, however, can run from tragic to rejuvenating, humorous to enlightening. Using the potential of current media technology, these artists give visual form to philosophical questions. Continuous return keeps everything in a state of agitated stillness.

Two video works by artists from a previous generation, Bruce Nauman and Marina Abramovic, point to the tradition in which the work of the younger artists is set. In his work, Paul Pfeiffer subtly alters video clips from well-known entertainment films or sporting events. Pfeiffer creates artificial film loops by dissecting film material into its smallest units and reconstructing it. Using topics such as sports, religion, racism and power, his endless loops illustrate the basic facets of the human character. In his video Fragment of a Crucifixion (After Francis Bacon), 1999, he turns a shout of exhilaration from basketball star Larry Johnson into a recurring vivid moment.

Utilizing inexpensive labor as opposed to new media technology, Nedko Solakov has composed a performance illustrating a variation on the Sisyphean myth. Here the tragic Greek figure is replaced by two workers with paint and rollers. For A Life (Black and White), 2001, two workers paint the walls of a room, one with white paint, the other with black. One continually follows the other throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Taking a central position in the CAC’s galleries will be Karussell, 1999, by Carsten Höller. Karussell is a transplanted carousel from a fairground in Leipzig, Germany. Höller has slowed the carousel’s rotation to a nearly imperceptible rate. Here time appears slowed, not dissected. The loop is the physical rotation of the carousel.

From the seemingly narrow structure of the loop, the artists exhibited here tackle contemporary perceptions of time from a wide variety of innovative and refreshing angles. Other artists represented in the exhibition include Francis Alÿs, Heike Baranowsky, Douglas Gordon, Ceal Floyer, Rodney Graham, Cristoph Keller, Aernout Mik, Susan Philipsz, John Pilson, Ugo Rondinone, Santiago Sierra, Yutaka Sone and Marijke Van Warmerdam.

Loop is the last exhibition scheduled to open at 115 East Fifth Street, the Center’s home since 1970. During the last 32 years, the works of artists such as Robert Morris, John Cage, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Graves, Robert Wilson, Michael Graves, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe and Roy Lichtenstein have been exhibited here. The Center’s new home, the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, will open in May 2003.

Loop is sponsored by Lightborne Communications. Loop was organized by P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition was curated by P.S.1 Chief Curator Klaus Biesenbach. Loop is supported by the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich; HypoVereinsbank, New York; The Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam; The Contemporary Arts Council of the Museum of Modern Art; The Junior Associates of the Museum of Modern Art; Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes; Visual Word Systems, JVC; Lawton Fitt; and Gregor Medinger. Special thanks to Gagosian Gallery, New York.

IMAGE:
Paul Pfeiffer
Fragment of a crucifixion (After Francis Bacon)
video still 1999


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