John Hurrell – 12 March, 2011
The Bledisloe Walkway works use static photographs Crooks has taken looking down on pedestrians crossing the Wellesley/Queen Sts intersection. Such examinations of motion, gait and body posture connect to his videos of people walking through busy railway stations, and his often discussed passion for historical figures like Muybridge and Marey.
Auckland Arts Festival
Static no.12 (Seek Stillness in Movement)
4 March 2011 - 9 April 2011
Lightboxes in Bledisloe Walkway
28 February 2011 - 28 April 2011
As moving image presentations go - for those of us fortunate enough to see Daniel Crooks’ contribution to Cockatoo Island in last year’s Sydney Biennale, it seems inevitable they will come to Two Rooms to have another longer look. For those even more blessed in that they saw the small survey Justin Paton organised for Christchurch Art Gallery three years ago, or one work which Starkwhite presented during nocturnal screenings, this Auckland presentation will confirm the expat’s reputation for amazing filmic innovation.
In Auckland currently there are three Crooks works: two videos at Two Rooms (one in a stockroom, so you’ll need to chat to the staff at the front desk to see it), and a set of five lightboxes adjacent to Aotea Square.
The Bledisloe Walkway works use static photographs Crooks has taken looking down on pedestrians crossing the Wellesley/Queen Sts intersection. They count on the observant viewer noticing that certain walkers are repeated several times within the individual early frames in the series, and alternatively are shown singly or even subtracted (or entirely replaced) in the others. Such examinations of motion, gait and body posture connect to his videos of people walking across busy city streets or through cosmopolitan railway stations, and his often discussed interest in historical figures like Muybridge and Marey.
Of the Two Rooms videos, Static no. 12 (seek stillness in movement) - made last year - seems to push further the painterliness of Crooks’ pixellated medium by virtue of an up-and-down (dipping and diving, also diagonal) brushlike motion. Rippling rhythms of crinkled fabric emerge within the elongated body shapes oozing from the stretched-open man doing tai chi. As if Bernard Frize is convulsively redirecting David Reed or Jason Martin. There is a nice smeared Baconesque quality, like a moving thumb pressed into soft squishy Plastercine.
The other work, Pan no.8 (initially filmed this year in Shanghai) is more connected to Pan no.2 (one step forwards, one frame backwards) 2007, the Melbourne-filmed work shown and purchased in Christchurch. It presents a greater playfulness with poured vertical blooming or trickling forms. There are even horizontal ‘building-window’ lines digitally unravelling like cascading rolls of fabric. This timebased experiment is musically inventive in an unfurling structure that increases complexity and then contracts the elements so they disappear like rapidly drying puddles in the sun.
With this artist it is the slowly pulsing oscillation between recognisable realism and organic abstraction that holds your attention, plus the extraordinarily brittle and delicate soundtrack (wavering between concrete/electronic and numbers recited by a female voice) which would transfix its audiences even without a visual component. His superbly structured cutting up, spreading out and reblending of moving image ‘time’ slices make Crooks’ blobby images extraordinarily exciting. An Auckland Arts Festival highlight.
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