San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) - San Francisco Art Openings: January 25, 2007


SAN FRANCISCO ART GALLERIES - OPENINGS
SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE
REPORTED BY CAROLINE ANDREOLLE
01.25.07

San Francisco Art Institute: World Factory - Active Witness.

Artists: Michael Blum, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (Young-Hae Chang and Marc Voge), Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre, Jean-Baptiste Ganne, Jens Haaning, Omer Ali Kazma, Map Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix), Raqs Media Collective, Mario Rizzi, Allan Sekula, Zhou Hao and Ji Jianghong.

Comment: A variety of world views and modes of expressions, quite literally. Mostly pictures, videos, and one installation (the dummie by the stairs). Different takes on capitalism, with several degrees of abstraction, from the video of natives in Istanbul who discuss global and local issues, to a slide show with text (font bigger than the average man) over rainbow background: "So, so soulful." Interesting detail on the seating (and kudos on providing seating) - words with definitions words like "Capitalism," "Factory," "Worker," etc.

Reviews of several artists...

Jean-Baptiste Ganne, "The Illustrated Capital,"1998-2003, photos on aluminum panel: Very colorful assemblage of shapes. The ensemble, wall-size, makes you, the viewer, come down to the pixel scale of this giant frame. On closer looks, some photos mimic ads, some for hotels, some for the latest trend in jeans. The photography, which is striking by its variations on structural angles, juxtaposes an interesting array of dummies, people, moving scenes and architecture shots. In the context of the world expo, it could be any capital, with suggestions of the sometimes impersonal, intimidating lifestyle of crowds; and the multitude of tempos (the stillness of the bystander looking at a model in the window, the blurry remains of a passerby, the timelessness of classic building structures) which mark our modern world.

Mario Rizzi, "Murat Ve Rizzi," 2005, movie, 58 minutes: Close-up on Istanbul, Turkey. Portrait of the world through 2-3 persons conversation. In the 15 minutes I saw, the conversation ranged from the effects of globalization on their everyday life to discussions of drugs in the neighborhood, small dealers, big ideas being tossed around in the conversation. The video has the look and feel of genuine interrogations of the mechanisms that change a local lifestyle.

Allan Sekula, "A Short Film for Laos," 2006, digital video, 45 minutes: This film is full of humor. For one thing, it starts off with a Western, which makes you wonder in what day and age you've just landed without leaving the dark room. Then it backs out and you discover you're watching an old television, which is airing...well, a Western. Next thing you know, you are in a hospital. Or at least, in some facility where they attempt to check on the narrator's leg. While you watch the bandages get removed, the narrator gives a shot at some humor in French (which is obviously not his native language), by literally saying "Everything's working out... but my leg, it's not quite working out" ("Tout, ca marche... mais mon pied, ca marche pas" "marche" meaning both walking and functioning). Next, you are taken into a cave, with a pile of rocks, and a guide, which explains that you are standing on a plane crash scene (from 1968) where hundreds of people instantly died... Interesting showcase of the feeling of estrangement; it capitalizes (dare I use this word?) on the viewer being unexpectedly thrown into this foreign country, into a whirlwind of shifts (geographical, cultural, historical) via the video and watching the melee of cultures influence a journey.

Jens Haaning, series of photos, ad-style-- Antonio, Sambas, Radovan, Murat, Amangzeab. Framed C prints. 2000: Fine comment on the world factory... of which we are (and want to be) a product. At first, looks like 4 models wearing clothes. My first reaction-- he's going to tell us how all of the clothes are manufactured in different continents, where poor children sweat over the future rich kid's shirt... If you thought that too, you were close, but it's much more subtle (liked it). Let's take a look at Antonio-- The text on the lower right, printed in white, reads, "Second-hand work trousers by Kansas 35DKK at Red Cross. Check patterned shirt 49DKK at Bilka. Shoes by Vagabond 600 DKK at Birk Sko. Wollen Socks 40 DKK at F_tex. Underwear by Calvin Klein 250DKK. Mobile phone by Motorola (CD 930) 500DKK."

Cool part: you don't see the phone... or the underwear, for that matter...

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Art (Jean-Baptiste Ganne, back wall).

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Art (Jean-Baptiste Ganne, left).

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Art (Jens Haaning, "Antonio").

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Art (Jens Haaning).

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Art (Heavy Industries).

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Art (Mario Rizzi).

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Educational seating.

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Art (Allan Sekula).

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Art (Allan Sekula).

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Art (Sergio de la Torre).

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Articles © Alan Bamberger 2007. All rights reserved.