Lucy Gunning, Climbing Around My Room, 1993 (still)
The Greene Naftali Gallery will present a video installation by Lucy Gunning opening Friday, May 10th and continuing through Saturday, June 15th. Lucy Gunning lives and works in London; this exhibition is her first solo show in New York. Previously, the work has been exhibited in Europe at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Lisson Gallery in London, the Stockholm Smart Show in Sweden and Nikolai Wallner Gallery in Copenhagen. She currently has a one person show at the City Racing Gallery in London which continues through May 12th. Her work will be included in the forthcoming exhibition, Behind Closed Doors: Video in Interior Spaces which opens in July at the new Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. A reception for the artist will be held on Friday, May 10th from 6-8pm.
The subject of Lucy Gunning's videos are simple even mundane activities which resonate with a complex psychology. The recent videos have included Climbing Round My Room (1993) in which a young woman in a red dress climbs around the walls of a white room never touching the floor. The Footballers (1994) shows two women in nurse's uniforms playing a soccer game in which competition, combat and courtship are choreographed in an endlessly repetitive movement around the space. The Singing Lesson, (1995) is a taped hour long singing lesson shown on two monitors facing each other; one shows Lucy herself in an acute state of self-concioussness as she makes a futile attempt at singing, the other shows the teacher with a frustrated air instructing the artist. The viewer is caught in the space between the two while the videos play slightly out of sync. The Horse Impressionists, (1994) depicts five women impersonating a horse with a mixture of embarrassment, earnestness and ecstasy. In her most recent work, she films her reflection on the liquid surface of a twitching eye which doesn't actually see the artist but only mirrors her image.
"If, for Lacan, Bernini's enrapt Saint Theresa represented the unrepresentable, a moment of jouissance frozen in stone, then Gunning's video suggests jouissance not as one (or even many) particular moments, but as a psychic event played out in a cycle of perpetual, physical, motion."
Kate Bush on Climbing Round My Room in frieze, Issue 21, 4/95
Desire is a central theme in the work and is expressed through content and manipulation of the medium. Gunning uses a skewed editing process with frames cut and displaced to shift time and image ever so slightly. Real time is often continuous yet disjointed like a stutter in a speech pattern or gaps in a conversation and in several of the videos time is slowed down invoking a dream state. Through a subtle yet awkward dislocation Gunning probes meaning and extracts the sense and nonsense from her subjects.