Andrea Geyer: Iaspis

By Jonsson, Stefan | Artforum International, April 2006 | Go to article overview

Andrea Geyer: Iaspis


Jonsson, Stefan, Artforum International


In the modern metropolis, the individual is reduced to a negligible quantity, wrote German sociologist Georg Simmel in 1903. "He becomes a single cog as over against the vast overwhelming organization of things and forces which gradually take out of his hands everything connected with progress, spirituality, and value." Andrea Geyer's installation Parallax, 2003, portrays a female flaneur in an American metropolis, specifically New York, a century later. Geyer's protagonist explores public space, poses in front of familiar monuments, and enters courtrooms, museums, and libraries. She embodies the citizen trying to claim her civil rights, only to encounter at every corner a "vast overwhelming organization of things and forces." Perhaps it takes a newcomer to compile such a comprehensive record of the state of the union. Geyer is a German artist based in New York. From September 2001 through August 2003, she collected news clippings and took photographs, editing them into a fifty-minute slide show run through eight synchronized projectors. The sequence is looped so as to suggest that the nightmare has no end; and to optimize its effect the gallery is turned into a classroom. There is no sound, except for the projectors' clicking and whizzing, which induces a trancelike attitude in the viewer. Bits of "reality," including unsettling citations from the news, appear and vanish in the eight frames on the wide screen. The frames open and close like so many windows onto the world, now forming a unified panorama, now dispersing into fragments.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Geyer's work is about the alienating condition of the metropolis, but above all it is a chilling commentary on the corrosion of democracy in the US after 9/11. …

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