Marfa Dialogues

Artists’ Film International – Alix Pearlstein

19 July 2013 - 8 September 2013

The Drawing Lesson
Single-channgel HD (color, sound)
7:13 minutes

Opening Reception Friday, 19 July 2013 from 6–8pm Exhibition walk-through with Alix Pearlstein Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 10am Ballroom Marfa FREE

Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, Ballroom Marfa is pleased to present the fifth season of Artists’ Film International, a program that showcases international artists working in film and animation. This year Ballroom Marfa’s Associate Curator, Erin Kimmel, has selected the work of New York-based Alix Pearlstein, whose videos The Drawing Lesson, Security and Light will be featured in the north and south galleries and courtyard.

Additionally, each of the 11 participating institutions has selected one artist from their region whose works will be screened as part of the international AFI program. Ballroom Marfa’s center gallery has been transformed into an interactive screening room for the viewing of the entire selection of works for the duration of the exhibition.

Alix Pearlstein’s films feature groups of actors in minimalist settings moving according to sets of directions carefully constructed by the artist. In The Drawing Lesson, shifting roles between observer and observed are enacted as the camera repeatedly draws circles around changing configurations of seated actors. In Security, actors respond to off-screen cues to step forward, back, or to the side, moving in conjunction or opposition to a noisily tracking camera. Projected nightly in the courtyard and visible from Highway 90, Light presents a group of actors gathered in the darkness, interacting with a mysterious source of illumination. Throughout each film the perceptual movement of the camera opens psychological spaces that reveal power structures both illusory and real.

Subtle aesthetic and directorial choices — such as variations on a white blouse-black pants uniform — combined with the range of affects that the actors bring to social situations tease spectators with potential narratives that are not realized. Instead, the films become dynamic meditations and thereby active investigations of drama, display and artifice. They demonstrate an intertwining of the physical and visual signals that characterizes our social interactions with other people and the manner in which filmic modes of representation are brought to bear on the history of portraiture and performance.

    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten interview with artist Alix Pearlstein and Associate Curator Erin Kimmel from July 19, 2013.

    This program has been made possible by the generous support of the Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, Texas Commission on the Arts and Ballroom Marfa members.

    Special thanks to Reece Brassler, Joe Cashiola, Ross Cashiola, Vicente Celis, Rob Crowley, Michael Eason, Cuca Flores, Cory Lovell, Francisco Rosas, Gory Smelley, Berry Stein, Krista Steinhauer, Ross Young and On Stellar Rays, New York, NY.