The Drawing Lesson
by Alix Pearlstein
Ballroom Marfa’s nomination for the 2013 season of Artists’ Film International (AFI) was The Drawing Lesson, a video by New York-based artist Alix Pearlstein that provokes uneasy questions about hidden power structures and the performative nature of our lives.
Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, AFI is a program that showcases international artists working in film, video and animation. Each of the eighteen international venues that participate in AFI nominate an artist who lives and works in their country. The artist’s work is then exhibited at all other participating venues around the world.
For the exhibition Ballroom transformed the center gallery into an interactive screening room to view the selections from all participating venues. Additional films by Pearlstein – Security and Light – were screened in Ballroom’s north gallery and courtyard.
The artist’s films often feature groups of actors in minimalist settings moving according to sets of directions carefully constructed by the artist. Throughout each film the perceptual movement of the camera opens psychological spaces that reveal power structures both illusory and real. The films demonstrate an intertwining of the physical and visual signals that characterize 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.
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.