Keren Cytter / Here and There
Opening: 26/02/2015 Closing: 18/04/2015
Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art is happy to present the fourth solo exhibition of the multidisciplinary artist Keren Cytter.The exhibition features three films :Ocean, Rosh Garden and Siren, all from 2014. Three new drawings that relates to Siren film and 35 Polaroid photographs.
Keren Cytter (b. 1977 in Tel Aviv, lives in New York) is a fertile storyteller. She works mainly with video and film and has made more than 65 scripts and films within the last decade. In 2008 she founded the dance and theatre company D.I.E. NOW (Dance International Europe Now) and in 2010 she co-founded APE – Art Projects Era, a foundation working from New York and Rotterdam with the aim to realize art projects outside of traditional institutional structures.
Keren Cytter uses visual media in strikingly original ways to build powerful and affecting narratives out of skewed scenes of everyday life. Cytter’s films, video installations, and drawings represent social realities through experimental modes of storytelling characterized by a non-linear, cyclical logic and multiple layers of images: conversation, monologue, and narration systematically composed to undermine linguistic conventions and traditional interpretation schemata. Recalling amateur home movies and video diaries, these montages of impressions, memories, and imaginings are poetic and self-referential in composition, thought provoking, and inescapably engrossing. Cytter’s pared-down style of filmmaking utilizes the barest of resources; she often films in her own apartment and incorporates intentionally kitschy, lo-fi effects. Even as Cytter’s characters enact intense moments, the actors are often emotionally detached from the drama or are even playing multiple roles; actions repeat themselves and seem out of sequence. Her work plays with the conventions of narrative cinema to reveal or upend unwritten rules, and as Cytter moves between multiple languages, plotlines, and genres within a single work, her work can foster anticipation and disbelief. Cytter also draws heavily on music to create a certain drama and atmosphere within her films. The narratives are often broken up and touch on themes of love, hate, sex, jealousy, revenge and violence.
Siren shows her typical way to narrate insane stories, mostly centered on the conflict between genders and based on disorienting flashbacks, together with new digital tools that create a new visual language and change our approach to images. In Siren Keren Cytter deals with “poor images” and their mass processing and circulation through mobile and smart- phone cameras. Images and scenes of different qualities are repeated to show the wide range of ambiguous possibilities of interpretation images can have and to insist on issues such as love and revenge: the female narrator convinces her male friend to murder another man in the name of all women to revenge unequal treatment in the battle between sexes.
Ocean opens with the written instruction, “Place your head here and your shoulders here,” whose letters compose the profile of a figure; the spectator is required to adjust, like in a subway photo booth. Then a voice starts: “If you don’t want to drown, be an ocean. You are waking up to the sound of the waves [seagulls in the background]. Your mind is an island. You are facing reality by yourself. Relax. Concentrate on the screen in front of you and face your own reflection.”
The story, whose fractured plot is told from different voices and individual viewpoints, as per usual with Cytter, takes place in a beach house. It involves a few characters, some of whom are lovers; a lonely boy; a bit of sex; several dialogues; and passionate kissing next to a bonfire, accompanied by the sticky romanticism of Leonard Cohen’s song Undertow. The voiceover, at one point coupled with the same pulsating binaural beats as Constant State of Grace, repeats instructions on what to do and how to feel until the circular logic of the video closes in on its last words: “Concentrate, look at your reflection. You are relieved. Your mind is empty. Your thoughts are public. […] You recognize your reflection and smile with the embarrassment of a blind date. Relax. Your mind is now an ocean.”
The drawings realized specifically for the exhibition, which have a dialogue with the footages from the film. The drawings on vinyl leather fabric become curtains used to play with the idea of theater curtains and of the installation.
Keren Cytter Recent solo exhibitions and performances include: Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014), State of Concept, Athens (2014); Der Stachel des Skorpions, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2014), Institute Mathildeonhohe, Darmstadt, (2014); Where are we Now, 5th Marrakesh Biennial, (2014); High Performance. The Julia Stoschek Collection, (2014) Show Real Drama Fondazione Trussardi, Milano (2013); A Theatre Cycle, NOMAS Foundation at Teatro Valle Occupato, Rome (2013); Show Real Drama, Tate Modern Oil Tanks, London (2012); Avalanche, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011); Project Series: Keren Cytter, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010); X Initiative, New York (2009); CCA Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu (2009).
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago will presents in March 28th the first large-scale presentation of the artist’s work in the United States. The exhibition features eight videos from the past decade and a new series of drawings and live performance works. To accompany the exhibition, the MCA and the Kunsthal Charlottenborg co-produced a new anthology of all of Cytter’s film treatments-judged as “the best” or “the worst”.