The MAC is presenting the North American premiere of Priority Innfield, a “sculptural theatre” composed of four movies, each projected in its own pavilion. This installation was originally conceived for the 55th International Contemporary Art Exhibition of the Venice Art Biennale.
Young American artists Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin are among the most iconic artists of their generation who according to John Zeppetelli, “chart with great dexterity and courage new social and aesthetic territories.”
They were both born in 1981, in Indiana and Texas, respectively. They graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently live and work in Los Angeles. Since their much-noted participation in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, the two artists have produced an impressive number of projects, each more ambitious than the next.
Since meeting in 2000, the two artists have employed video, sculpture, sound and installation to brashly address the changing nature of interpersonal relationships brought about by technology and social media. The resulting works present a potential vision of the future where our sense of place in the world is determined by an increasingly difficult to navigate set of factors.
These movies–Junior War, Comma Boat, CENTER JENNY and Item Falls (all from 2013)–each represent a chapter in a pseudo-science-fiction narrative that relates a history of future civilizations inspired by an inventive recasting of the theories of evolution. Comprising sequences filmed by Trecartin in the 1990s when he was still in high school, Junior War documents the excesses of adolescence and serves as a prologue to the series. In Comma Boat, Trecartin casts himself as a dictatorial filmmaker ineffectively directing an apathetic cast. CENTER JENNY and Item Falls showcase students (all called Jenny) learning about the “human past” while aspiring to climb the rungs of society. Carefully scripted and shot in sets and costumes created by the artists, the movies are also the product of contributions by numerous collaborators.
The pavilions of Priority Innfield, fabricated while the movies were being shot, take up their themes and visual elements: a reality show set, a bathroom or a suburban park. They act as viewing areas and observation platforms and emit an ambient sound track to the installation. “By presenting the movies this way, Fitch and Trecartin create a fluid, open experience in a unified space sealed off from the rest of the world–all the better to underscore the phenomenological and semantic shifts that lie at the heart of their works,” notes Mark Lanctôt, curator of the exhibition and at the MAC.
As Trecartin says: “I love the idea of technology and culture moving faster than the understanding of those mediums by people.”