Maureen Paley is pleased to present Banks Violette’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. He was included in The Black Album in 2005 and his first solo show in 2006 was in collaboration with Sun O))). This exhibition will include a video installation, and will continue with a large sculptural installation in the first floor gallery comprising buckled aluminium screens constructed from modular units.
Although Violette has often explored narrative and drawn upon the visual language of performance, this will be the first time he has used video in his work, and it will be the central element in the exhibition. Featuring an appropriated and manipulated clip from the famous TriStar Pictures opening animation, in which a white horse gallops across a black background and then, like Pegasus, grows wings and flies away, the footage will be projected onto an invisible screen of water vapour created by industrial humidifiers and channelled by ‘air curtains’ from high efficiency fans, so that the projected image will hover, almost like a hologram in mid-air. In this short, looped section of the animation the horse gallops continuously forward, but is interrupted by the jolt in the edit, undermining the carefully created illusion, and revealing its source.
I have used the image of the horse repeatedly, it’s an image that falls into that category of images that are void-exhausted and over-determined and drained of life through overuse. This idea of a void image is a constant throughout my work; the idea of an image seemingly unable to exceed the weight of its own overuse, yet somehow, once in a while, capable of reanimation. And, like a zombie, reanimation results in a negative return. The energy used to reanimate the flag breeds nationalism, the over-choreographed image of a musician smashing a guitar gives us Kurt Cobain. The image of the horse conjures a type of romanticism specific to the heroic ideal. In making this iteration of the horse into a video, I wanted to make a deliberate quotation of an artist whose work I deeply admire, Jack Goldstein. Goldstein’s art seems like a critical dissection of mass-culture, and yet his biography has become an almost exact mirror of the conventions specific to the culture that his criticality implies distance from. Goldstein’s disappearance and eventual suicide strongly resembles the fiction of a tortured, heroic artist. In one of his most iconic works, the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer lion roars again and again against a red background just as the ‘TriStar horse’ runs endlessly in this show.
The upstairs gallery will contain two black screens, similar in construction to previous sculptural works that take on the formal language of billboards, projection screens, etc. One screen forms a right angle, with one wall comprising the half of the right angle formed from violently crumpled aluminum panels. The screen panels are modular, and they are constructed from modular units, and this idea of modularity implies the possibility of a system that doesn’t cease its growth. ‘Serial’ here is intended as both a reflection of crime and of construction. Each work in the show buttresses the intent of the video projection; they are all places that are void sites, places where fiction is staged and periodically/ tragically exceeded.
Recent solo exhibitions include Focus: Banks Violette at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, USA, 2008, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, and Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, 2007, as well as two concurrent solo exhibitions at Team Gallery and Gladstone Gallery in New York in 2007. His work was also included in When We Build Let Us Think That We Build Forever at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle, The Shapes of Space at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Bastard Creature at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.