Saturday, August 24, 2013

Black Box: Gerco de Ruijter

Where: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

When: through November 12, 2013

Much as I have my issues with the Hirshhorn, I've always enjoyed the "Black Box" series.  Featuring artists who use videos as their artistic medium, they're quirky, odd films that I remember long after I've seen them.  This offering, by the Dutch artist Gerco de Ruijter, is a very short (only 4 minutes) film of center pivot irrigation plots in the American southwest.  Gathering images from Google Earth, de Ruijter synced them to a score by Michel Banabila.

The commentary outside the room discussed the tie between this film and Dutch still life paintings.  The idea is that both of these are meant to explore issues of ripeness and decay.  I found myself reminded quite strongly of a countdown clock, of the sort that used to appear before films.  I also thought of vinyl records playing on a turntable - something I'm sure would not suggest itself to younger viewers.  There's one point in the film that my eyes seemed to see a tunnel appear on screen - I'm guessing that's due to the rapid movement of the circular images.  And rapid is the word; the images each go by so quickly that you really can't focus on any one picture.  You can see only the overall idea.

Verdict: Go see this film; it's another good installment in this always intriguing series.

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