Magazine article Artforum International

Seb Patane: CHINA ART OBJECTS

Magazine article Artforum International

Seb Patane: CHINA ART OBJECTS

Article excerpt

At the heart of Seb Patane's tight, studied exhibition is its namesake, a hypnotic video titled Year of the Corn, 2011. The time-based composition has a trancelike, vaguely tribal sound component and sets into action the many static expressions visible in the artist's drawings, paintings, collages, prints, and sculptures elsewhere in the room. Over the course of six minutes, the piece shifts through five distinct movements: a dark silhouette (a head? a landscape?) floating static against a pixelated red sky; two planes of latticework spinning laterally; a strangely ritualistic performance shot in black and white played forward and back; two masked bodies superimposed against a bamboo forest; and a point-of-view tracking shot retreating from a deserted shack. In this final section, a muffled voice can faintly be heard reading a poem written by the artist; a text pasted to a wall adjacent to the projection echoing the voice-over, "We were faithful to the line; faithful, to the straight line. ..."

The structure of this video is peculiar in that while it is both nonnarrative and looped, it is also clearly linear, its successive patterning moving steadily from scene A, to B, to C, and so on, before ultimately returning to A and starting again while lyrically unfolding indeterminantly outward. Such opposition between a line and a loop proves to be an unpretentious formal device, which Patane extended to the other works in this show. For example, in Eleventh to the North, 2011, similar formal dualisms are sculpturally and pictorially addressed. Leaning a ten-foot-long unprimed canvas against the wall, Patane then dropped before it a pile of thin wooden poles marked with bands of colored tape; four more poles lean against the canvas, reiterating and buttressing the dominant works rendered in acrylic on the flat surface. …

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