Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present "Acéphal Magical", Jamie Isenstein's first solo exhibition at the gallery, which includes performance, video, and sculptural elements that interact to form the installation.
In the past, Isenstein has performed within her sculptures and installations, calling into question the definition of performance and sculpture, and examining the relationship between the artist, the artwork, and the viewer. For "Acéphal Magical", Isenstein takes on the role of the magicianís assistant in the midst of the classic "sawing the lady in half" illusion. Rather than being sawed in half, here the illusion is of "sawing the lady at the neck", suggesting that half of the box contains a body and the other half contains the head.
Continuing the themes of headlessness and magic, a two-channel video installation is projected in the gallery. In one video, a magician performs with a saw, although instead of using the saw to perform the illusion, the magician uses it to play a melody. The musical saw, an instrument most popular on the vaudeville stage, is known for its voice-like quality. In this work the sound of the musical saw now acts as the voice of the magician. The second video in the installation features an oscillating fan playing a tune by blowing on glass bottles filled with water. This video presents a repetitive musical palindrome that serves as an accompaniment to the musical saw. The two videos play together to form one musical piece by composer Paul Damian Hogan, which Isenstein commissioned for the exhibition.
A third video installation comprised of a monitor placed on the floor will face a "Clapper" device plugged into an outlet on the wall. This device, usually seen on late night TV commercials, is activated by clapping as a hands-free way to turn on and off electrical appliances. In this installation a video of clapping hands will trigger the "Clapper" to turn a floor lamp on and off.
Throughout the exhibition many juxtaposing themes are presented. Headlessness and surrogates for the head exist simultaneously. Everyday magic is presented alongside theatrical magic. The live presence of the artist in the installation is equally countered with her absence and subsequent surrogates. Finally, through the use of heads and decapitated bodies, music and planned magic, the immortal question of the relationship between the head and the body, or between reason and intuition is raised as a way to question the nature of what it means to be an artist (or what it means to be an artwork). Isenstein contemplates the slippery nature of representation and the difficulty of ever truly knowing anything.
In addition to an upcoming solo project at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (opening September 28th), Jamie Isenstein has exhibited in galleries and museums internationally including Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin and Meyer Riegger Gallery, Karlsruhe (co-operative project), Guild and Greyshkul, New York, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City.
Exhibition: September 6 - October 20, 2007
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 10 am - 6 pm
Andrew Kreps Gallery
525 W. 22nd St.
USA-New York, NY 10011
Telephone +1 212 9741 8849
Fax +1 212 741 8163