Marcus Herse: Greene Exhibitions

By Diehl, Travis | Artforum International, May 2015 | Go to article overview

Marcus Herse: Greene Exhibitions


Diehl, Travis, Artforum International


Marcus Herse

GREENE EXHIBITIONS

Visitors to Greene Exhibitions will likely brave that most persistent of LA cliches: terrible traffic. So those who came for Marcus Herse's solo show were primed for a suite of six long videos, projected larger-than-life on each of the gallery's three walls in loops of two, of the artist piloting his car through gridlock. The works were shot using a camera joined to an electric motor mounted to the vehicle's inner roof, which allowed the lens to swivel from left to right in small, even increments. Herse posits driving as "durational" performance, like Situationist wanderings filmed by an autonomous camera-eye a la Michael Snow's Region Centrale, 1971. Yet the program here is more masochistic than meandering; Herse keeps his hands at ten and two and doesn't turn or merge (except when he runs out of lane). Above muffled road noise and the occasional polite tick of the turn signal, the dominant sound is the helpful voice of Herse's Google Maps app, constantly giving directions, consistently ignored.

Reclining on one of five aftermarket car seats reupholstered by the artist and stuck to casters, the viewer scooted around a backdrop of freeway-adjacent geography, which offered a tour of the unplanned aesthetic of SoCal. Herse's videos leave us unencumbered, able to look out the window--or at any rate, able to view whatever the apparatus happens to frame. At one point, #23 (melancholy of departure (after De Chirico)) CA-110N 20B--US-101S ID 10 January 2015 (all works 2015), the left-hand side of the triptych, showed rain on the 110 North through downtown. #20 (plycar) I-405N 46--I-405N 51 7 January 2015 (the middle projection) threw a good, even exposure of the 405 South; while on the right, #3 (coruscant I) I-10E 14A--I-10E 21 22 December 2014 presented a view of a far-flung Metro station at the magic hour (both in terms of light and traffic). Herse offers his viewers the local charms of car bodies, billboards, truck decals. The chair sculptures in particular, upholstered in "painterly" black/orange, black/ white, white/green vinyl schemes and rigged with LEDs, formalize the artist's mis-/unguided appropriation of developed vernacular forms. Casually, fleetingly, the camera composes the shadow on the back of the headrest, the back of the artist's head raked by fine California light, the dappled graffiti on dirt-brown walls. …

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