September 8–November 22, 2020
Tuesday–Sunday, Noon to 5pm

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University
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A SCULPTURE, A FILM & SIX VIDEOS is an exhibition of a sculpture, a film, and a survey of six recent video artworks presented in a nontraditional temporal framework. Nestled into a custom-built atrium in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University, the sculpture, Peter Fischli & David Weiss’ Son et Lumiere (Le Rayon Vert), acts as the pivot or fulcrum for the entire exhibition, the rotating kinetic center around which everything else revolves. Acting as a counterweight, a proto-cinematic object, and a foil, the sculpture will be installed for the entire run of the exhibition, and the videos will rotate out, with one work projected continuously for two weeks. The vaulted space of the main gallery is darkened into a projection space. As the videos will not be seen in the same place at the same time, they will exist in relation to each other only through memory, engaging one of the fundamental properties of the moving image in the structure of the exhibition itself.

The video works address temporal continuities and discontinuities in time. They connect a deep mystical time to the present tense, visualize cycles, and reach into the future for the potential it may hold for transformation. The green ray, referenced in the subtitle of the sculpture and in the title of the film by Tacita Dean also included in the exhibition, is a naturally-occurring phenomenon, a flash of green light crossing the sky after the sun has set. In the 19th century it was a widely-held Romantic belief in Europe that observing the green ray gave the viewer a heightened perception of the world and viewing the ray was indicative of a coming transformation. In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), the green flash is seen as a sign that a soul has returned to the living. Jules Verne encapsulated that ideal in his 1882 novel The Green Ray referring to the color as “the true green of Hope”.

In her collected writings, Dean explains that “looking for the green ray became about the act of looking itself, about faith and belief in what you see.” Dean’s 16mm film, The Green Ray (2001), will be screened in the gallery as an intermittent event rather than a film installation as it has typically been exhibited. The green ray grounds the temporal framework of the exhibition itself and the specificity of media’s relation to time, delineating difference of time in sculpture, in video, in film, in performance, in event, in exhibition.

Our gratitude to all of the participating artists, Collective for Radical Death Studies, devynn emory, Tosh Basco, Wu Tsang, Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Susan MacDiarmid, Kenneth Graham, Marian Goodman Gallery, Mathew Marks Gallery, Bortolami Gallery, Hollybush Gardens, Vielmetter Los Angeles, Greene Naftali, Gladstone Gallery, Everything Studio, Tanara Thomas, Joey Young, Dani Smotrich-Barr, Maya Hayda, Paul McLaren, Rani Arbo, John Elmore, Andrew Chatfield, Rosemary Lennox, Paul Theriault, Tony Hernandez, and the entire staff at the Center for the Arts. This exhibition was curated by Benjamin Chaffee. Additional support and co-sponsorship for Karrabing Film Collective is provided by Wesleyan University's Anthropology Department, History Department, and Center for the Humanities in conjunction with its fall 2020 theme of "Dirt." Additional support for Tosh Basco is provided by the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance's Performing Artist Case Studies, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

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