Thursday, October 20, 2005

Iron Artist

Douglas Gordon's Play Dead:Real Time Nicolas Deveaux's, 7 Tonnes 2

The Iron Artist! Today's ingredient--elephant!! France vs. Scotland.
When I saw Nicolas Deveaux's work 7 Tonnes 2 CG short I immediately thought of Douglas Gordon's installation piece Play Dead: Real Time. Not just because the main subject is an elephant but because both of them deal the absurd. Deveaux's work starts out with an elephant, beautifully rendered, lumbering in a gymnasium. As he labouriously walks he encounters a trampoline and then proceeds to get on it. The next shot shows the behemoth bouncing up and down. The absurdity of the sitution leads to more as the elephant breaks into a gymnastic routine twisting and contorting about in mid-air.
Douglas Gordon's installation Play Dead consists of 2 floor to ceiling screens and a small monitor where the viewer watched a film loop of an elephant walking in a gallery space playing dead and then getting back up. The camera circles around the elephant as she walks, sits and inhabits the space. The absurdity comes in the guise of the pachyderm playing dead for the audience and then ever so awkwardly and clumsily has to rock back and forth in order to get back up. Of course there are more levels in this piece for various reasons but the main one is the connection between the real elephant and the viewer. Why I juxtaposed these works together is to show how an idea and theme is executed out whether for an gallery or a short film. I hope it is also a good staging point to expose art and animation on the same level without sounding either too low or high brow.

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