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ONE WAY STREET - Sheppard Gallery, Reno PDF E-mail


Sheppard Gallery
University of Nevada, Reno
February 26 - April 6, 2007


Video works by:
Amanda Beech, Pierre Bismuth, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Roman Vasseur

Curated by:
Amanda Beech, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, & Matthew Poole

This exhibition explored how particular video works take on the authority that we have understood to be the domain of architecture, in that they produce a sense of the common, the public and sociality, but also how they take up and reconfigure public and communal space in physical terms in the gallery environment.

Taking these two related aspects as its foundation, the curation of this exhibition aimed to think through video as a facet of architecture. To achieve this, the four video works were presented within specially designed structures of suspended screens that fragment the space of the gallery, both disrupting and directing views and movements through the space.

A discussion was held at The University of Nevada, Reno, on Thursday March 1, 2007, with Amanda Beech, Jaspar-Joseph Lester, and Matthew Poole, and was chaired by Gallery Director Marjorie Vecchio.

This project was supported by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, The British Council, Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Essex, and University of the Arts London.

For further information about the Sheppard Gallery's programme, please click here.

Theme & Artworks

All the video works are single screen large projections with sound.

Amanda Beech - "The Cold Six Thousand", 2005, DVD video, dubbed, 1 min.

In, Amanda Beech's video "The Cold Six Thousand", 2005, the narrative is lifted from James Ellroy's book of the same name. Just as the book collides fact and fiction through the genre of conspiracy theory, the video collides images from documentary footage of Las Vegas with Ellroy's narrative. The small edit produces a chapter of the book - taking the novel's language of conviction and making it more violent. Significantly, the work draws our attention to the way in which we convince other people and produce believable narratives. This is a mixture of realism, documentary style footage, and high drama; not fantasy, but rather the drama of will, force and power.

Pierre Bismuth - "Respect for the Dead", 2002, DVD video, dubbed, 10 mins 20 secs.

Pierre Bismuth's "Respect for the Dead" consists of feature films edited so that the film sequences are cut immediately after the first death occurs on screen. Bismuth employs artistic practice as a tool for examining our perception of reality as well as our relation to culture and its productions. The underlying aim of his works is always the same - to destabilise pre-established codes of perception and to force the viewer to become critical and incredulous even when presented with cultural objects whose meaning appears self-evident. Bismuth creates unexpected shifts in the everyday meaning of things in order to disrupt perceptual habits, thus opening the space for an understanding of the world beyond its constructed meaning. The immediate accessibility of the materials employed by the artist functions as a kind of decoy, which eventually leads the spectator to distance him or herself from the usual network of significations and implications in which they are imbedded. In this sense Bismuth never tries to add new meanings to the objects that he manipulates, but aims simply to neutralise their initial meaning and thereby delay the act of understanding. His art is above all one of "suspension".

Jaspar Joseph-Lester, "Spirit", 2007, DVD video, dubbed, 7 mins.

Jaspar Joseph-Lester's "Spirit" focuses on a small housing community in Dornach, Switzerland. A documentary style guided tour takes us around the complex to the sound of one of the elders of the community retelling the community's history and the genesis of the architecture. Through the video the relation between spaces of work, home and leisure are experienced through a single vernacular of unusual architectural forms.

Roman Vasseur
- "Black Propaganda at Melancholy Ranch", 2005, DVD video, dubbed, 5 mins.

Roman Vasseurís "Black Propaganda at Melancholy Ranch" reports and dramatises a remote event in a desert setting where a light plane breeches the uninhabited landscape and bombards the terrain with leaflets simultaneously reporting and threatening a language bomb.