Noah Becker's whitehot magazine of contemporary art
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September 2008, Agnieszka Brzezanska @ Karma International

September 2008, Agnieszka Brzezanska @ Karma International
A Small Presentation of a Few Video Works and Some Really Old Works With a Nude, a Horse and the Moon by Agnieszka Brzezanska at Karma International, Zürich
PORN FILM AS ART HISTORY LESSON

How much film material is left in a 90 minute, big budget porno when you edit out the sex scenes? This being porn, one is not left with much. The ten minutes that didn't end up on the cutting room floor are dubbed over by a well known Polish voice actor. Oratio: "When are you finally going to marry?" Artemisia: "I don't want to get married. I want to paint. I want to earn my own money". An adult film parodying the mainstream 1997 french film of the same name, this is probably the most unlikely example of the sub-genre. Brzezanska purchased this €5 porn flick at a gas station, edited out the "good bits" and uses it as an installation supported by a few early drawings.

I personally would have cut the opposite: at least sex scenes are (sort of) real. People could at least be affronted by more than the mere absence of smut for the sake of idea. Brzezanska, unlike Gentileschi of her day, has the freedom to express virtue & vice - to reveal the creative power of the "gentler sex" àla Pipilotti Rist to the audience.

There are volumes of feminist & art historical research on the early Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Her humiliation of being raped in 18th century Italy and three centuries of anonymity are lost in the cheesy soft focus romantic (and in this case erotic) scenes of her at the easel. In the original 1997 film by Agnès Merlet, history is also glossed over. Gentileschi`s reputation was compromised in the court trial with the aid of thumbscrews. These days mainstream cinema audiences -like the art world audience, don`t want to hear it. "it" being anything remotely factual about the plight of women or women artists.

As for the supporting drawings: Some Really Old Works With a Nude, a Horse and the Moon, they are not conceptually tied to the rest of the show enough to justify inclusion. These works on paper also lack the required graphic skill to be handwork. Happily for the artist, the Zürich art public is generally hostile to craft anyway...


Opening Reception: 30th August 2008, 7 p.m.
Video Presentation: MIGROS Museum für Gegenwartskunst, 18th September 2008, 8 p.m.
Exhibition continues through Sept. 30, 2008




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