La Casa Encendida is proud to present, for the first time in Spain, a solo show featuring the work of Lizzie Fitch (Bloomington, IN, 1981) and Ryan Trecartin (Webster, TX, 1981). Consisting of four films nested inside five sets from the Zabludowicz Collection, the show explores the impact of new communications technology on language and the construction of identity taken to new extremes.
Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin’s work has been likened to the result of an imaginary filmmaking collaboration between Hieronymus Bosch and Keith Haring, or what it would look like if Facebook had a nightmare. Fitch and Trecartin are primarily known as video artists, but they have also worked in sculpture, installation and photography.
Their films are a blend of sitcomesque performative art and hypnotic digital collage. Trying to decode a plot or understand any of their characters in a conventional sense is bound to be a frustrating experience for spectators; the best way to approach their work is just to roll with it and pay attention to the connections our brains make.
Using video rather than painting or installation was a natural choice for this artistic duo, having grown up in the age of cable TV surrounded by screens, television sets and plasma displays. Consequently, they portray a world where everything and everyone is aware that they are being recorded, edited and eventually broadcast. Ultimately, their characters—if we can call them that—aspire to be images, and the real world is therefore of secondary importance.
In their films, footage is sped up, slowed down and even reversed; colours are garishly bright; flesh becomes plastic in post-production; even the titles read like corrupt data files or unrepeatable acronyms. This apparent chaos is metaphor for the instability of the artists’ vision of humanity and how the information overload and new languages spawned by the digital era are trivialising our society.
The exhibition, titled Priority Innfield, comprises five theatrical sets—Pole, Fence, Villa, Way and Tilt—which in turn contain four films—Junior War, CENTER JENNY, Item Falls and Comma Boat—that explore the impact of communications technology on language and on the very construction of identity taken to new extremes.
The collaboration between these two Los Angeles-based artists began in the year 2000, and since then they have become the figureheads of an entire generation of young American artists—Cory Archangel, Ryder Ripps, Shana Moulton and others—who have embraced the proliferation of digital media in the past two decades and combined their critique of consumer society with their adoration of pop aesthetics. Looking for precedents, we might place the work of these artists within a genealogy of American subversives that ranges from the sinister kitsch of John Waters to Cindy Sherman’s blurred multiple identities and the violent ruptures of Paul McCarthy’s performances. Even so, none of them is a perfect match for their utterly unique universe.
Priority Innfield was originally conceived for the 55th International Art Exhibition, Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, curated by Massimiliano Gioni and organised by the Venice Biennale. The touring exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Zabludowicz Collection, courtesy Tamares Real Estate Holdings Inc.
Priority Innfield tour:
- 02.10 — 21.12.2014
Zabludowicz Collection, London
- 05.02 — 24.04.2016
La Casa Encendida, Madrid
- 06 — 09.2016
Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal