Close-up capezio index. Image courtesy of the artist and ltd.
If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. – Emily Dickinson
In a perfect world, everything would be white and blue and we would speak with native fluency a previously unlearned language. The blue would be Royal Blue, like the paint slathered on Yves Klein models just before they writhe around his canvases; the white a bright white like Miami cocaine or the fluorescent lights of a Berlin kunsthalle; and describing the faultless simplicity of this Santorini-esq environ, words that previously we either feared to utter or never knew existed would miraculously find their intelligible forms in our throats and mouths. At ltd with his exhibition entitled capezio, aaron GM (née Aaron Garber-Maikovska) has created a perfect world.
A plethora of wheat flour and performance-based methodology in the exhibit immediately bring to mind Vito Acconci’s 1970 Flour/Breath Piece film, where the artist was shown attempting to blow a thin layer of flour off his own nude body. capezio’s lo-fi videos find GM reiterating the vernacular of 60’s and 70’s video artists who recorded their own banal acts and gave otherwise inconsequential physical motions importance via the then nascent time-based art medium. Utilizing minimal editing techniques, repetition, and corporal action to engage the observer, GM uses his body, voice, minimal studio props, and a single lens to create a whimsical and compelling oeuvre. Summoning the pace of the 1971 I Will Not Make Any Boring Art video that sees John Baldessari repeatedly writing these lines on a chalkboard, or the 1972 Baldessari Sings Lewitt where one artist actually sings the other’s conceptual statements, the videos in this show are not tautological. More like watching the making of Tibetan sand mandalas, GM forces the viewer to decelerate and observe his capricious, soothing, and obliquely mannered technique.
Installation view, from capezio index to Undulating Porous Arc. Image courtesy of the artist and ltd.
The installation is comprised of quotidian components: Royal blue painter’s tape and cotton fabric, white sacks of bleached flour and bright lighting, and walls lacking any sort of color-based adornment save the geometric forms and “words” made by the tape. GM creates a character in his video works whose age (with vocal intonations redolent of both a pre-schooler and an old man) is irrelevant and intelligence is nebulous. 2 computers, 2 projections, a video monitor, and 6 soundtracks on headphones that house the moving image and sound elements of the show juxtapose a ladder wrapped in blue tape and propped against the wall. The music (including the cheesy Sail Away by Enya and Telling Stories by Tracy Chapman) versus the objects in the show protracts the artist’s interest in divergent formal, sonic, and material textures. The bread scattered about capezio – signifying both the folding of dough and the kneading of meaning and language back into itself – becomes a baroque metaphor.
donkey (2009) 00:01:44, video still. Image courtesy of the artist and ltd.
GM’s language-based explorations are silly and poignant, with tape on the walls simultaneously employed to designate space and spell out quirky acronym titles like A.Q.E.D (Always Quoting Emily Dickinson), and J.A.T.D. (Japanamation Across the Dashboard). And the collision/collusion of the low (tape and flour) and the cerebral (temporal manifestations and linguistic exercises) posture the works in a realm difficult to categorize.
AQED (2009) 00:00:48, video still. Image courtesy of the artist and ltd.
In the video called “donkey” GM does a disco-dance of sorts – choreographing his opposing hands to rub the blue ladder rungs in a somewhat masturbatory fashion while finding an off-kilter, sing-song rhythmic repetition of the words “driving a truck, feeding a donkey, playing with my soup…”– and the piece ends with the character redemptively “drinking some soup.”
JATD (2009) 00:01:01, video still. Image courtesy of the artist and ltd.
Via formalist and performative maneuvers, GM’s capezio leads the viewer with elf-like nimbleness into a blue and white dreamland for a bit and then releases them — feeling a bit lighter and slightly confused — back into reality…where, in an unwelcome Los Angeles torrential downpour, the Dickinsonian quote, “The rain is wider than the sky” aptly makes the world seem a tad more perfect[.]
For more information please visit: www.ltdlosangeles.com
For the videos detailed above please visit: www.aarongm.com
This post was contributed by Annie Wharton.