Sunday, July 26, 2015

Taking a long view of the shore

Where: Sackler Gallery of Art

When: through September 13, 2015

When you walk down the stairs to the exhibit space at the Sackler, this video will meet your eyes.  It's long, over an hour, and focuses on the shoreline.  Driftwood is moved about by waves, people walk past the water on their travels and curious shapes (are they people, dogs, otters?) enjoy the beach.

This is a compilation of five films by the Iranian Abbas Kiarostami and they are dedicated to Yasujiro Ozu, a Japanese filmmaker who influenced Kiarostami's work.  This is presented in conjunction with the Shirin Neshat show at the Hirshhorn, and, I'm happy to say, you are directed to that show, so that those who wish to see more contemporary Iranian art can get their fill.

If you, like me, are unfamiliar with both of these artists, no worries.  I was mesmerized by the driftwood film, regardless of my ignorance.  It's just driftwood on a beach, but I got caught up in wondering if the waves would grab it and move it down the beach or out to shore.

Imagine my excitement to see people walking down what appears to be a boardwalk in the next film!  I think some of them were the same people, but it was hard to be sure.  And then, I was enthralled by the figures on the beach.  I thought at first they were people, then decided they were dogs, and was about to consider if they were otters or something similar when one of them got up - dogs!

There are two other films in the series, but I had a limited amount of time to spend, so only saw three.  If you've got 74 minutes, enjoy a visit to the beach, without packing your sunblock!

I think the thing that has really stayed with me was not so much the visuals, but the sound.  The waves coming in, crashing on the shore and going out again, reminded me of family vacations to the ocean.  That sound never fails to relax me, even in the middle of a busy day, in a busy part of town.

Verdict: If you need a trip to the ocean, but can't quite make it out of the city, head to the Sackler - salt water taffy not provided! 

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