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JENNIFER WEST | 'Action Movies, Painted Films and History Collage' at Museo MAN

02/17/17 - 05/21/17

Jennifer West
Action Movies, Painted Films and History Collage

17.02 – 21.05.2017
The MAN Museum is pleased to announce the forthcoming inauguration of the exhibition by Jennifer West,entitled Action Movies, Painted Films and History Collage, curated by Lorenzo Giusti.

The first solo exhibition of this American artist in an Italian museum, is comprised of a group of ten films created starting from 2005 and a new work that represents a turning point in the artist’s production.

Her program’s centerpiece is Film Title Poem (2016) – “a psychic montage of my inner history of film” – for which West re-shot more than 500 existing movie title cards on 35mm film and manipulated the print with etched patterns, scratches and punctures before transferring it to HD. This feature, sensual, partly abstract, partly imagistic work delves into how fiction weaves itself into our memories and how our viewing experience has changed with the digital revolution.

Jennifer West began her systematic research into the possibility of shooting films without using a camera as far back as 2004. The artist removes the film from its conventional context by applying different processes that range from traditional artistic techniques (painting, drawing, collage, grafitti, etching) to alternative actions such as emulsion, chemical manipulation and direct exposure of the photosensitive material to light. The result is a "filmic space”, immersive and psychedelic, a material animation of signs and images characterized by acid tones and nervous rhythms.

In some instances conceivedas authentic performances, Jennifer West’s work on the film often calls for the inclusion of other persons, as well as daily use materials (food, lipstick, motorcycle tires…), or exposure to natural elements in places of special impact.

This is the case of Salt Crystal Spiral Jetty Dead Sea Five Years Film (2013), one of the ten works on exhibition: it was created by immersing 70mm film in the clay and salt of the Dead Sea, at high temperatures in 2008 and then placing it in a suitcase. The film sat in buckets in the artist’s studio, covering it with clay for five years and finally pulling it over the rocks encrusted with salt crystals of Robert Smithson’s renowned Spiral Jetty, before being thrown into the icy waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, in the attempt to evoke the original spirit of the work and the poetic vision of this American artist.

The exhibition at the MAN of Nuoro will also be the occasion for the starting of a new work, beginning from an exploration of the land, which will originate in Sardinia in the days preceding the inauguration.

Jennifer West is an artist, who for over ten years, has gained international recognition for her explorations of materialism in film. Significant commissions include Tramway, Glasgow, 2016; Seattle Art Museum, 2016; PICA TBA Festival, Portland, 2014; High Line Art, New York, 2012, The Aspen Art Museum, 2010 and the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, 2009. Selected solo shows include S1 Artspace in Sheffield, UK; Kunstverein Nuremberg, Germany; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Transmission Gallery in Glasgow and White Columns, NY. West has exhibited widely in museums and art institutions internationally including: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg; Kunstlerhaus Graz, Austria; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Nottingham Contemporary, UK; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; CAPC, Bordeaux, France; Drawing Center and ZKM Museum for New Media, Karlsruhe. Currently her solo exhibition, “Film is Dead…” is on view at the Seattle Art Museum thru May of 2017 and she will mount a solo exhibition at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, China accompanied by a catalogue.

She has been artist in residence at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA. West has produced eleven Zine artist books that she gives away at her exhibitions and her writing has appeared in Artforum and Mousse Magazine. She received her MFA from Art Center in Pasadena and her BA from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She has lectured widely on her ideas of the “Analogital” and is a Associate Professor of the Practice of Fine Arts at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design.