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Cory Arcangel vs Pierre Bismuth @ Team Gallery, NYC

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, 01 Nov 2011

We are fans of Jux-featured artist, Cory Arcangel, and his reappropriation of media and popular culture. His new exhibition is of particular interest; Arcangel and French aritst Pierre Bismuth are collaborating in a presentation of Guy Debord’s 1973 film Société du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) with the instructional signal of a projector — “CHANGE BULB” — permanently blinking over the image track.

Team Gallery brought this two artists together, not as friends or previous collaborators, but as two artists who share a similar vision and approach to conceptual art and culture. We continue to be amazed with work of Arcangel, and look forward to seeing this collaboration.

Here is a bit of the press release:

Conceptualists Cory Arcangel and Pierre Bismuth disorient viewers by remixing and reversing emanations from contemporary mass media and pop culture. In this collaborative exhibition, each artist maintains his identifiable signature in the presentation of seven works: three Bismuth pieces chosen by Arcangel, three Arcangel projects selected by Bismuth, and one work created in tandem.

The collaborative piece included here is a presentation of Guy Debord’s 1973 film Société du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) with the instructional signal of a projector — “CHANGE BULB” — permanently blinking over the image track. While the original film contains intertitles listing philosophies excerpted from the filmmaker’s critical text of the same title, Arcangel and Bismuth insert an overriding, permanent text that operates as a reminder of the inevitable breakdown of technological devices and systems of viewing. Infused with the artists’ distinct brand of subtle wit and intellectual reversal, the action is a particularly Debordian gesture of viewer interuption — a détournement — exactly the kind of disruptive act the original film was considered to perform through its edits, excerpts, and appropriations.

The new works by Cory Arcangel further the artist’s practice of personalizing public data by changing a variable in a media or entertainment artifact to reveal moments of omission, obsolecence, and failure. In Living Situation, Arcangel re-inserts several coughs previously erased from a live recording of a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major (“Eroica”), Op. 55 by the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Arcangel’s newly remastered digital file is played on an iPod through a new lifestyle product called the XL Model Geneva Lab GenevaSound Stereo. In Various Books / Various Scents, Arcangel infuses a selection of influential cultural texts and works of popular literature, like Ice-T’s autobiography, with mists of celebrity-endorsed perfumes. The gesture weds the marketing agendas of celebrity scents and pop-lit with the critical strategies of theoretical texts, all of which threaten to evaporate in an instant.

Similarly, Pierre Bismuth creates new work by manipulating the intrinsic structural qualities of media objects and images. Redeemed presents the discarded fragments from various neon fabrications, most likely advertisements. Bismuth realizes the mismatched sizes and colors of neon tubes as new, complete works, delivering them to their literal linguistic designations — the origin of the word neon translates to “something new” — so there is a structural completion in both form and meaning. For his 2007 video Proposal for Improbable American TV Program – Part II - Seinfeld, Bismuth adds layers and layers of the sitcom’s ubiquitous laugh track until it becomes impossible to make out any of the dialogue; the simple transformation foregrounds the invasive nature of televisual prompting. Bismuth nullifies the work of comedy with laughter.

Cory Arcangel vs. Pierre Bismuth
November 3—December 23, 2011
Team Gallery

New York, New York


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