O Rinoceronte de Durer (Durer´s Rhinoceros), 2010. 16mm film transferred to high definition video, color, stereo video, color, stereo sound.
REDCAT: Opening reception: Saturday, April 5, 6–9pm
A co-production between REDCAT and Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, Games are forbidden in the labyrinth is Javier Téllez’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast. The exhibition features a newly commissioned installation Chess (2014) and Téllez’s film Dürer's Rhinoceros (2010) in which the artist reflects on the social and historical conception of the psychiatric institution: from architectural structures to technologies and treatments.
Mostly known for his films, Téllez works in collaboration with psychiatric patients or people with disabilities as protagonists. Combining documentary with fictional narratives, often taken from literature and cinema, the artist questions the definitions and social prejudices established between the concepts of normality and pathology. The strategy of using invisible or socially marginalized characters thus becomes a way for the artist to contaminate certain totalitarian versions of history, giving voice to those who usually have none, reflecting a form of resistance to the normalization and homogenization that is characteristic of the dominant discourse.
The point of departure for the exhibition is Dürer's Rhinoceros, shot in the panopticon of the Miguel Bombarda psychiatric hospital in Lisbon. Operational until 2011, the facility was built in 1896 according to Jeremy Bentham’s model to house the criminally insane. Téllez asked patients from a daily clinic to imagine stories of the former patients in the deserted old cells of the psychiatric hospital. This reconstruction of the everyday life of the institution was complemented by voice-overs reading texts from sources such as Bentham’s letter presenting the Panoptic, Plato’s Cave, and Kafka’s short story The Burrow, concerned with different architectural models related to the power of surveillance.
The front part of the gallery—the foyer for the projected film—is a giant chess game, which functions as a collective space to develop a trompe l´oeil of the delirium. One can imagine this chess-asylum as an anthology of the artist’s research on the history of mental institutions, confronting symbolically the institution, the treatments and the patients in an ideological battle: mental illness is consciously presented as a socio-historical construct, and not exclusively as a biological anomaly. The installation seeks to explain the role of medical treatments and psychological techniques as mechanisms of social control that conceal implicit socioeconomic contradictions. The patterns of the board—which also allude to a hospital floor—are invaded by a series of assemblages that function as the main organs of a sterile machine. These pieces appear dissected, showing the core of its constitution, incorporating the narrative of objects, historical moments, and images from literature and film that have contributed to the treatment of mental illness. They further provide references to renowned patients such as Antonin Artaud, Unica Zürn and Adolf Wölfli twentieth-century characters who articulated their own language informed by their condition. The figures and objects in the installation and video work will momentarily abandon the domesticated situation to which they have been reduced, to address the set rules and discourse that previously evaluated and institutionalized them.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with essays by Dieter Roelstraete (Senior Curator at the MCA, Chicago), Ruth Estévez (gallery director and curator at REDCAT) and Javier Téllez.
Javier Téllez lives and works in New York. His work has been shown internationally in venues such as MoMA PS1, New York; ZKM, Karlsruhe; KW, Berlin; Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; The Power Plant, Toronto; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; SMAK, Museum for Contemporary Art, Ghent; and Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam. He took part in TRACK (2012) in Ghent, dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), Lyon Biennale (2011), Whitney Biennale (2008), Manifesta (2008), Sydney Biennale (2008 and 2004), Yokohama Triennale (2001) and Venice Biennale (2003 and 2001). Javier Téllez is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow (1999) and was a guest of the DAAD Artist programme in Berlin from 2010 to 2011.
D300 Gallery: Chris Dyson MFA 2 ART
D301 Gallery: Nicholas Liang MFA 2 PHOTO/MEDIA
L-Shape Gallery: Lisandra Vazquez BFA 4 PHOTO/MEDIA
Main Gallery: Lorie Wheeler BFA 4 PHOTO/MEDIA
A402 Gallery: Margaret Pratt BFA 4 PHOTO/MEDIA
Lime Gallery: Daniel Bernard BFA 4 PHOTO/MEDIA
Mint Gallery: Nicole Pun MFA 2 PHOTO/MEDIA
CalArts, Bijou Theater
FILM/VIDEO: William Jones work draws from a myriad of sources such as 1970’s pornography, legal data, pop music, and his personal memories. His deeply researched films, videos, installations, and writings have covered a wide range of topics including gay subcultures, the production and counterfeiting of currency, and the materiality of film and photography. William (Bill) has shown films and made installations at dozens of festivals and museums, and he is also a prolific writer. A book length interview between Bill and Thom Andersen was published by A.R.T. Press last year.
THE FALL OF COMMUNISM AS SEEN IN GAY PORNOGRAPHY (video, color, 19 min, 1998)
KILLED (Sequence of digital files, black and white, silent, 1 minute and 44 seconds looped, 2009)
And other works…
William E. Jones, born in Ohio in 1962, is an artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1985, he went on to complete his MFA in 1990 at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. His subtle and often deeply researched films, videos, installations, and writings have covered a wide range of topics including gay subcultures, the production and counterfeiting of currency, and the materiality of film and photography as mediums. These projects have been the focus of solo exhibitions at The Modern Institute, Glasgow, Scotland; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; White Cube, London; and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. His films have received retrospectives at Tate Modern, London (2005), Anthology Film Archives, New York (2010), and the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna (2011). Important group exhibitions include the 1993 and 2008 Whitney Biennials, the Nordic Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, and the 12th Istanbul Biennial in 2011. In addition, Jones has also published numerous artists’ books, including Tearoom (2008), Heliogabalus (2009), Killed: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration (2010), and Halsted Plays Himself (2011).
ART: Murillo's large-scale paintings imply action, performance, and chaos, but are in fact methodically composed of rough-hewn, stitched canvases that often incorporate fragments of text as well as studio debris such as dirt and dust. His paintings, video works, and performances are tied to a notion of community stemming from the artist’s cross-cultural ties to London, where he currently lives and works, and Colombia, where he was born in 1986.
CalArts, The Wild Beast
MUSIC: Come bathe in the sound of the sun. Featuring music for solo trumpet by Rosenboom, LeBaron, Pintscher and Stockhausen.