Monday, August 16, 2010

Exhibiting Artist: Brett Swenson

A hooded male emerges from an elevator into a dark space. He holds a spot-heating gas torch, turns it on and directs the flame frontally, towards the viewer. The flame is small and pointed, and as the focus of the camera fades in and out, the scene appears to be from a dark, slow dream.

In a split second, however, there appears a gaping, smoking hole, suspended mid-air between the viewer and the man as he turns his torch off and disappears. Only to re-appear and repeat the action at a different spot in mid-air. Over several episodic appearances in this dream-like state that fades in and out of vision, the cinematic "space" between the artist and the viewer reveals itself to contain a large clear pane of glass.

From this point onwards, Execution begins a game of expectancy with the viewer: what will happen next? at what point will the glass break? what happens to the man when it breaks?... Impacted by bullets of heat repeatedly, the invisible glass surface is replaced by a completely opaque broken surface of tempered glass. The cinematic space that was previously transparent is now blocked by a screen. The executioner is now inaccessible and but a silhouette standing behind a hole-ridden portrait that is beautiful in its ghostly form.

This video demonstrates a recurrent theme amongst several artists : the penchant to break glass. What meaning is there, to be found or made, from the act of breaking glass? The theme will be discussed in a later post.

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