The Struggle Against Ourselves
July 1–August 28, 2011
Thursday, June 30 | 6–9pm
Artist talk in conversation with Andrea Bowers | 6:30pmREDCAT
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Jones’ recent body of work focuses on the political and social history of cinema while exploring the role of film as a cultural artifact within collective history. Commissioned by REDCAT and produced at CalArts during a residency this spring in Los Angeles, Jones’ new film takes Vsevolod Meyerhold’s biomechanics etudes as its point of departure to position itself between the principles of Russian constructivism and its eventual appropriation by mass culture.
Working in collaboration with students from CalArts’ Schools of Theater and Film/Video as well as Los Angeles theater director Chi-wang Yang, Jones’ new film titled The Struggle Against Ourselves restages Meyerhold’s biomechanical workshops (influential to the pioneering Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein) as they appear in a series of photographs from the 1920s by the Russian photographer Alexander Grinberg. The reconstructed etudes depict the spectacle of movement embedded within radical political ideology while remaining eerily filled with the pathos of the historical past. The Struggle Against Ourselves displays a convergence of Russian revolutionary art and American popular culture by emphasizing the collective human form and synchronicity of movement—brilliantly usurped and reinterpreted in the films of Busby Berkeley. Despite the vast differences in their approach to politics, the pairing of these disparate cultural forms reveals an uncanny resemblance in the representation of the body on film.
Jones’ new work is presented alongside The Spectre and the Sphere (2008)—a film depicting a performance of “The Internationale” on a theremin by Lydia Kavina, as well as a trilogy of recent works Mahogany (2009), The Predicament of Man (2010) and Against the Realm of the Absolute (2011)—a feminist sci-fi film set 100 years in the future after capitalism has been overthrown and its female inhabitants re-enact the past as ritual events to produce a sense of historical time. Brought together at REDCAT for the first time, the works reflect Jones’ desire to retrieve the artifacts of cultural history and revolutionary politics through performance, filmic re-enactment and theatrical staging.
Jesse Jones (b. 1978, Dublin) currently lives and works in Dublin, where she received her MA in Visual Arts practices at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in 2005. Her films and videos have been screened and exhibited internationally in such notable exhibitions as the 11th International Istanbul Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Collective, Edinburgh; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Project Arts Centre, Dublin; and Blackwood Gallery at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
Jesse Jones: The Struggle Against Ourselves is produced in collaboration with the CalArts Schools of Film/Video and Theater.
The exhibition is funded in part with generous support from Culture Ireland, Stacy and John Rubeli, and Pasadena Art Alliance.
Gallery at REDCAT aims to support, present, commission and nurture new creative insights through dynamic projects and challenging ideas. The Gallery presents five exhibitions every year, often of newly commissioned work that represents the artist’s first major presentation in the U.S. or Los Angeles. The Gallery also maintains an active publishing program producing as many as two major monographs per year. Proceeding from the geographic and cultural specificities of Los Angeles, its program emphasizes artistic production of the Pacific Rim—namely Mexico, Central and South America and Asia—as regions that are of vital significance to California. The Gallery aims to facilitate dialogue between local and international artists contributing to a greater understanding of the social, political and cultural contexts that inform contemporary artistic practice.
Gallery at REDCAT is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00pm or until intermission. It is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the Gallery at REDCAT is always free.
REDCAT is located at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).