Sunday, December 28, 2014

Henrot at Longue Vue; Molina at the Front

Camille Henrot, the freshly minted French art star, has a way of breathing new life into ancient myths and natural history via new technology. Her Grosse Fatigue video projection at Longue Vue House and Gardens received the Silver Lion award when it premiered at the 2013 Venice Biennale, but it reflects  Prospect.3's
Gauguin-inspired subtheme: "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" via its fluid interweaving of creation myths and evolutionary biology. Its soundtrack, inspired by paleo-rap group The Last Poets, gives it a retro-hip, bongo and ganja inflected swagger as computer screen views of turtles and tribal rituals, tree frogs and Iphones, nucleosynthesis and soapy nudes seem to arise, merge and dissolve like strangely seductive fever dreams. It all began with her research residency at the Smithsonian Institute, and might have been another conceptual art novelty exercise, but Henrot's playful sensuality infuses it with enough digital endorphins to turn it into an unexpected, occasionally epiphanous new life form in its own right.

Cristina Molina's All Ancient Men Shall be Forgiven video projection is an elegantly rendered visual tone poem based on a dream she had about Anna Freud, Sigmund's troubled daughter who later went on to follow in his psychoanalytic footsteps. The smoothly shifting scenes are as symbol-laden as any by Bergman or Bunuel, and unfold like enigmatic flashbacks as Anna, played by Molina, attempts to deal with a defecating baby whose laughter dissolves buildings. In another scene, she is walking in the woods and comes across a dancing bride and groom and a talking wedding cake that, while eating itself, mouths the oracular, inevitably Freudian pronouncement: "All ancient men shall be forgiven." It's a precariously fraught inner travelogue, but Molina pulls it off with polish and panache, topping off this month's superb array of mini-expos at the Front. ~Bookhardt 

Prospect.3: Grosse Fatigue: Video by Camille Henrot, Through Jan. 25, Longue Vue House and Gardens, 7 Bamboo Road, 488-5488; All Ancient Men Shall Be Forgiven: Video by Cristina Molina, Through Jan. 4, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave.