January 21, 2010

Mouth to Mouth

I went to the MoMA museum branch PS1 in Queens last weekend. There was an exhibition featuring 45 years (since 1965) of performance video and it was comprised of many, many art works made specifically for video. I expected that the TVs would be higher quality, but it sort of fit in with the video since many of these were probably shot on VHS. I had seen a lot of the videos before, but there was also some incredibly captivating works that I had only read about before that were definitely worth seeing.

One of the works I liked was by the Glasgow based artist duo Smith/Stewart. I wasn't previously familiar with their work, but typically use their own bodies as the source for their video installations and single-screen works which allow them to explore gender interaction, and the works often have a threatening sense of imminent violence. In Mouth to MouthStewart lies in a bathtub fully clothed and completely submerged in water while Smith kneels at the tub's edge. Each time he signals that he is out of breath, she bends down and exhales into his mouth.

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