John Hurrell – 28 February, 2012
On the soundtrack for this film is a little tinkling bell that indicates the changing of rounds. That brittlely delicate sound interacts spasmodically in the room with a loud clanging that comes regularly from a motor attached to the ceiling, and which yanks the disc. The moving metal circle looks like the gong struck by a muscleman at the beginning of J. Arthur Rank movies and suggests an imagined but never heard deeper sound.
Bodies and Situations
10 February 2012 - 10 March 2012
The four works by performance artist and ex-gymnast Alicia Frankovich in the downstairs Starkwhite space continue her passionate interest in the human body, its gesture and movement - be that self-generated or manipulated by others. The large gallery and the adjacent office are darkened, presenting two videos, a kinetic sculpture and a photograph. Upstairs there is another set of photographs, and on opening night there was an energetic male go-go dancer (Jumping Man) performing - as did Frankovich herself (and her family) serving delicious pavlova and plums.
No static sculpture or performance residue is included. The moving films and jerking sculpture (a large shiny disc on a string) dominate, the main work being Volution, a short movie made in Berlin featuring jerky editing and referencing the famous boxing fight scene from Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. In this scene Chaplin constantly hides behind the ref so his opponent can’t hit him, and then adopts a wrestler’s strategy by hurling himself bodily at his rival’s midriff pushing him to the ground.
In Frankovich’s bouncier, more choreographed version the two jigging ‘boxers’ rotate around each other (and spin) throwing absurdly wild punches while the artist acts the role of the mediating referee. Two other people from the street also get involved so the narrative is fanciful and funny. Frankovich then takes on Chaplin’s role by lunging at the bigger opponent so they fall flat on their backs as if knocked out.
On the soundtrack for this film is a little tinkling bell that indicates the changing of rounds. That brittlely delicate sound interacts spasmodically in the room with a loud clanging that comes regularly from a motor attached to the ceiling, and which yanks the disc. The moving metal circle looks like the gong struck by a muscle man at the beginning of J. Arthur Rank movies and suggests an imagined but never heard deeper sound.
The other film, Genet Piece, refers to the great novelist Jean Genet’s imaginative explorations while in prison, and the masturbatory homoerotic fantasies that drove his intensely lyrical writing. Self-absorbed in reverie Frankovich’s dancer performs alone and slowly as if with an invisible lover, his shifting weight repeatedly squeaking a couple of floorboards. The film changes to a view of the dancer lying on his back on the floor shirtless and wearing jeans, as if the object of desire for the vertical fantasiser. Above his crotch near the top button of his fly, one hand suggestively caresses with the forefinger of the other.
By the front door Frankovich’s spot lit photograph of an Egg Happening in Stuttgart is very different. It shows two people each attempting to balance two eggs in a pair of teaspoons clenched in their mouths at once, and seems a variation of the famous running waiters egg-balancing race in Paris, and a couple of egg-tray balancing sculptures Frankovich has exhibited in other shows using chairs and metal door frames. They seem to represent latent movement, not manifest like the bright zigzagging circle skittering backwards and forwards above the floor.
Precarious trays of eggs trying to attain a safe equilibrium on sharp edges are of course symbols for the gymnast’s (performance artist’s) poised body but here only the German photo alludes to them. The films have a different sort of energy, dealing with rotation, vertical bounce and the wonders of comic and erotic imaginations. In this show they have been now been translated into something more anarchically playful, ambiguous, and meditative.
Two Rooms presents a program of residencies and projects
by leading international and New Zealand contemporary artists.
Comprehensive online access to contemporary art & leading galleries around the world
Love to hear orchestral classical music live?
CLICK HERE to follow this orchestra’s adventurous performing programme
To read a transcript of the panel discussion “Whose Oceania?” held recently in London, and more on NZ arts abroad, CLICK HERE