Hunting for Pheasants

2008
Installation, 70 unique posters (pencil, collage, ink jet print), wall paint, translucent vinyl, powder coated aluminum maze, video 40 minutes, dimensions variable

 

The installation Hunting for Pheasants presents a series of unique posters that commemorate victims, both real and fictional, of political assassination as well as a single-channel video of appropriated video footage.  The posters are hand-made pencil drawings based on photographs from newspaper archives and illustrate the work’s engagement with an archival impulse.  To navigate the space of the installation and view these posters, the viewer must traverse a maze-like construction of low white painted stainless steel railings, somewhat reminiscent of roped off queues guiding airport security lines.  The posters are hung on walls painted with vertical bands of color that function as a mechanism of interruption, or an artificial boundary between stories.  Hunting for Pheasants originated with a thought of creating advertisement posters for films that don’t exist, films that will never be made. It serves as a form of tribute to the poster as an art form, as a form of mass communication that increasingly becomes anachronistic and obsolete, and how it then gains in value with the passage of time.  Of particular importance to the work is its relationship to the Polish School of Posters of the 1960s and 1970s, less in its particulars and more so as a phenomenon.  These posters hardly included images of movie stars, but rather aspired to represent the essence of a film through symbolism and a conceptual approach that cleverly seems to reverse an assumed hierarchy, as if the ‘advertised’ films were made for the sake of posters, not the other way around.  The installation is a synthesis of the artist’s interest in poster, film, design, history, fiction and politics, but in no particular order or hierarchy.  The artist uses collage, not in the literal sense, but rather the collaging of ideas, points of reference, aspects of form and content so as to give each of these elements an almost equivalent amount of attention.  Through these means, the artist grapples with the questions of how news is processed, how today’s news is inevitably doomed to be become yesterday’s news, the propensity to be more easily moved by a film’s illustration of history than the history or historical facts themselves, how fiction and facts are intertwined, how heroic symbols and icons are created, and how one relates to the break through historical moments.  When is the moment in time when history becomes fiction and fiction becomes history?  And the moment when a dramatic political event is absorbed and internalized by an average citizen, and becomes a part of an individual, unique interpretation?