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Past Exhibition


  • Ilse Gassinger

    Ilse Gassinger

  • Ilse Gassinger

    Ilse Gassinger

  • Ilse Gassinger

    Ilse Gassinger

being malevich

Ilse Gassinger

November 13, 2002 - December 8, 2003

Photo and computer generated images juxtapose an installation that plays on the familiarity of movie titles and the text of common place cultural idioms.
Ilse Gassinger, an Austrian-born artist, has worked and lived in Durham for the past twelve years. With a background in photography and video, she left the moving image in her work when she came to Canada. As her art making has always been mediated by machines, the computer seemed a logical tool to develop new possible ways of working.

There are several aspects to the installation: the use of text that plays on cultural idiomatic phrases and their inability to be translated, the use of the computer as the tool of random creative verse ( a computer program translation, takes a circuitous route from English through French into German and back to English), and word plays of translation that verge on party entertainment with changes in meaning that move from the pedantic into the poetic.

The clues that lead the viewer on the merry chase of Ilse Gassinger's new work, begin with the title, "being malevich," a play on the title "Being John Malkovich", a surrealistic movie by Spike Jonze released in 1999 wherein the protagonists find a portal which leads directly into the mind of the actor John Malkovich. The portal becomes commercially exploit and gives the public first hand experience of what it's like to be John Malkovich.

The art of the industrial environment has its beginnings in cubism, futurism and Suprematism. Kasimir Malevich was a Russian artist (1884-1941), responsible for the concept of suprematism, taking the idea of abstraction to its definitive reduction - a black square on a white background. Influenced by the abstraction of Malevich and the similarity to the name Malkovich and its movie associations, Gassinger has woven a playful narrative.

The tightly sequenced storytelling repeats motif and colour. The images address playful graphic themes that move from suggestive mundane action, through the animated movie still, to the near abstracted human form. With an eloquence of form and fantasy, Gassinger has woven a poetic text of the body's animation, both naive and articulate.

- Tony Massett