Peter Fischli & David Weiss
September 5 – November 14, 2009
Robert Rauschenberg, “Open Score,” Performance presented as part of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering,
The 69th Regiment Armory, New York, N.Y., United States, October 14-23, 1966
LM PROJECTS is please to announce its first exhibition, “Cause and Effect,” showcasing a collection of video based performances and kinetic sculpture from the mid 1960′s to the present. Though the discourse surrounding each of the selected works diverge from one another and their classification as kinetic art, they nonetheless are linked through their mechanical, temporal, and movement based components. Len Lye’s “Trilogy: A Flip and Two Twisters” serve as a point of departure for the rest of the exhibition as performance and theatrics commingle with art and engineering. Rauschenberg’s “Open Score” and emerging artist Jacob Tonski’s “Balance Study, Threshold” are performative works dependant on the action of participants, while Peter Fischli and David Weiss rely on the chain reactions of common place objects and combustibles in “The Way Things Go.”
Len Lye often defined his practice as ‘composing figures of motion.’ His interests rest not as much in the technological feats of his work, but in their relationship to the primal body and mysticism. Lye was a pioneer of kinetic sculpture, making his first experiments in 1920. The 1977 work, “Trilogy: A Flip and Two Twisters,” is one of his best-known kinetic sculptures. Three separate bands of 20-foot long steel suspended from the ceiling run through a programmed choreography of motions wherein the two vertical bands twist at a frightening speed and the center, looped band periodically flips inward, then outward. These produce alarming sounds of metallic thrashing and a deep gong, and have been described as having a ‘barbaric energy.’ In 1966 Lye produced a half-scale version of the piece that evolved overtime to the larger scale. Much of Lye’s kinetic work developed over large spans of time and a few were produced after his death. This work will be shown as video documentation.
Created for the 1966 event “9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering,”Robert Rauschenberg‘s”Open Score” reflected two of his concerns in the ’60′s – technology and performance. 9 Evenings was a set of performance and theatre based collaborations between artists and engineers from Bell Laboratories that took place at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. At the time, the Armory had served as a venue for tennis matches inspiring Rauschenberg to stage a match between artist Frank Stella and his tennis partner Mimi Kanarek. The match was played using tennis rackets rigged with FM transmitters and contact microphones. Each time the ball was hit the vibrations of the raquet strings emmitted a loud bong triggering one of the lights illuminating the performance to switch off. As the lights went out the game continued until the Aromory was completely dark. Rauschenberg was interested in the ability of the tennis match to become a “formal dance improvisation” and act as orchestra. Two additional sequences followed: a choreographed cast of 500 performing in darkness filmed with infrared cameras and projected onto white screens; and Rauschenberg carrying a girl in a cloth sack while she sang a Tuscan folk song. Following 9 Evenings, Rauschenberg’s interest in technology and performance led him to become one of the founding members of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.).
Jacob Tonski‘s human-scale apparatuses, both amusing and threatening, find an uncanny identity between toys and tools. For “Balance Study, Threshold” Tonski created a video based performance that mediates on the dynamic and disorienting nature of power in relationships through metaphors of scale, momentum, and balance. The performance creates a perfect duality between man and machine. Inside a 10- foot tall wooden wheel, a concave structure is designed to fit a freestanding person inside its core center. Mounted to the wheel is a camera recording Tonski using the action of his body to roll the structure back and forth building momentum as he shifts his weight between his heels and toes. As the camera rotates with the wheel it continues to film upside down while Tonski remains standing right side up. The apparent effect of this on camera is that of gravity shifting its orientation, (a well known film technique as seen with Fred Astaire dancing on walls, or the loss of gravity in “2001, A Space Odyssey”). The experience is a tangible mediation on the physical interplay between inertia and change, control and boundary, or threat and attraction.
Since the beginning of their collaborative practice in the late 1970′s, Swiss art duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss have engaged in dry wit, humor, and the absurd through their transformation of everyday objects in film, sculpture, installation and photography. In the much loved 1987 film, “The Way Things Go,” Fischli and Weiss meticulously construct a 100-foot long sculpture of everyday objects set to orchestrate a massive cause and effect performance of crafted chaos in the flavor of a giant Rube Goldberg machine. Explosives, chemical spills and fireworks interact with strategically positioned ladders, tires, teapots, chairs, and the like construct a precarious balance between triumph and catastrophe.
Nova Jiang’s practice conceives viewers and the public as integral partners of the work she produces. She creates playful narratives and scenarios, from video to interactive mechanical installations, in which she seeks to open up the possibilities of expression and communication amongst her audience by facilitating play. Jiang aims to provide scenarios reminiscent of childhood activities based on simple interactions, referencing Surrealist attempts to reach the unconscious through games, as well Dada and Fluxus uses of chance, happenings, and play, For “Hull Loss” she installs a hand-held device built for participants to launch paper airplanes they’ve made into the air. The planes must pass through obstacles of wooden structures equipped with mechanized scissors in order to land in the safety of a suspended and elongated gauze-like net. Very few of them reach their destination and most are left fallen, strewn about the floor. The game-like quality of the installation becomes a playful vehicle allowing participants to become performers, test designs, and compete with and support one another through success, failure, and challenge.