On view through August 3rd at Thomas Solomon Gallery is Vishal Jugdeo‘s “That Thing That Precedes The You.” This latest solo venture from 2012’s “Made in Los Angeles Biennale” alum is part kinetic/part automaton assemblage, complete with a video installation. “Every Inch Flattens, 2013,” is a structural harbinger. Glass door, pin-thin strings connected to a series of sensor triggered pullies, all preceding the looping video that sits virtually unbeknownst at the rear of the install. As you walk passed the heavy door futilely chained, you feel as if you are penetrating an invisible wall, circumnavigating the space to sit and observe what otherwise remains out of view.
“That Thing That Precedes The You, 2013,” is a (eponymously named), video composed of a three vignettes. Each sequence is a conversational duet of the two leading (and only) characters. Opening scene, character one mans an eerily desolate corner market. Lazily leaning over the cash wrap as character two enters, the camera pulls back and the full scope of the ransacked market is visible; nothing remains but the once useful price tags and a thick of dust. The dialogue begins. Each line is finessed language, theoretical and self-affirming, so much so that casual interaction feels like a glitch in momentum. The bodega segment fades to black and resumes with these individuals in a wood paneled office of sorts. Conversations of commodity lead to concerns of amorphous states, crystalline existence “of perfect saline form.” Camera tricks create literal self-reflections during soliloquies on artistic creation and the battle of “insides against the insides of others.” For the final segment, Jugedo’s characters reappear by a lake. The Downtown Los Angeles skyline hazily perceptible and many miles removed. Our man of the bodega advises his newfound friend to draw a line. With a stick, character two glides across the suburbs, moving onto the downtown skyline- each building stunted in the soaring shape of the US Bank Building- the stick glides onto the 101 Freeway, ending as a hill interrupts the horizontal movement. With this character two remarks matter-of-factly, “every inch flattens.”
With “That Thing That Precedes The You, 2013,” Each segment feels like a dream that was not only vividly remembered but also recorded for all to see. No dramatic arc or explosive story line, the simplicity and subtlety of this existence is what allows the viewer in. At once it is connected and disconnected, conversations of creative necessity and its commercial plight. Each statement is personal but speaks to an often-general artistic dilemma. The circular movement through the space, the suggested walls and tension of the objects, catalyzes the inner dialogue the viewer may have. Once you rise from the viewing area, the installation as a whole feels like a manifestation of the mind- taught wires with whirling zip lines, creating a suggested environment, within which concerns and validations sit, echoing the line of Character Two, “Freedom isn’t a fixed state.” Jugdeo weaves a world of found and created objects at the back of which (like the mind), concerns, ideas and pure poetry sit.
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-Contributed by Bianca Guillen