Wednesday, September 28, 2011

re-LIVE feat. Raymond Boisjoly, Francisco-Fernando Granados, Curtis Grahauer, Brian Lye, Elizabeth Milton, Ron Tran. Curated by Jesse Birch.

An imaginative approach to addressing the ephemerality of performance, re-LIVE was a warm and intelligent wind-down to the LIVE festivities. Using not only performance, but also drawing, installation, video, and fashion, six young artists reinterpreted important performance works created in Vancouver. Bringing new insight to the originals, the exhibition also served as a loving tribute to local art history.

Perhaps the loosest response in the exhibition was by Raymond Boisjoly. Rather than looking at a specific performance piece, Boisjoly took a cue from the practice of Warren Arcan. Drinking steadily through the night, Boisjoly used the aluminum of his beer cans to draw on the wall of the bar at VIVO. Beginning with "UNEASY WITH THE COMFORT" he later added "OF COMPLEXITY" to complete the phrase.

Franciso-Fernando Granados' inspiration was a single moment from the first LIVE Biennale, a performance of Margaret Dragu's Eine Kleine Nacht Radio. In this moment, Dragu applied lipstick from her mouth to a wall while wearing a black dress. Granados, also in black, did not use just his lips. Instead, pressing his cheek against the wall, he traced a red sharpie marker along the profile of his face, repeating this gesture to create a long landscape of silhouettes.

Curtis Granhauer's 4x8 was a tribute to the eight members of U-J3RK5 and the four songs off their original eponymous album. Using microphones as markers for Ian Wallace, Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham, Kitty Byrne, Colin Griffiths, Danice McLeod, Frank Ramirez, and David Wisdom, Granhauer created four U-J3RK5 karaoke tracks, elevating the band from underground punk heroes to solid gold pop fame. Visitors were also invited for a karaoke party at the end of the night.

Rodney Graham's classic Vexation Island got a rework by Brian Lye, transporting the video's the original desert island setting to a South Vancouver backyard. Instead of a coconut perpetually knocking out a hapless pirate, in Training a Fool is Not a Joke we have a bumbling tree pruner forever sawing himself off a tree and getting hit by a ladder. The two films share the same language; short, slow-motion cuts hilariously elaborate upon every detail of the disaster. However, the playful and fantastic setting of Graham's film is replaced with the reality of our own city, a comment on "the adverse effects of Vancouver real estate speculation".

Elizabeth Milton's video installation consisted of two face-to-face monitors displaying a vast collection of leopard print clothes. On one screen, the camera, up close and personal, roams across every detail of the wardrobe. The other screen shows a wide, still shot. All leopard finery is displayed at once, neatly ordered. Someone, I'm guessing this is Milton, inhabits this frame, barely moving. She wears a leopard print costume after Kate Craig's Lady Brute character. Held for the duration of Kate Craig's lively Skins, Milton's piece operates in contrast to the original, a comment on the stultifying effect of historicization upon art.

Recreating the costumes of Mr. Peanut, Flakey Rosehips, and Lady Brute, in Peanut, Leopard, Sharks, Ron Tran re-animated the playful personas of Vincent Trasov, Glenn Lewis, and Kate Craig, but in miniature. Modeled by three year olds, the cute factor was a definite hit. One could not help but feel that the past was being revitalized as the kids modeled, tore off, and ran all over their lovingly tailored outfits, dashing manically around the gallery space until it was time for bed.

- stacey ho


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