Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley, Kappa; presented by Adam Khalil

Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley, Kappa; presented by Adam Khalil

Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley, Kappa (still), 1986. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

Bar Laika presents
Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley, Kappa; presented by Adam Khalil
February 28, 2019, 9pm
Bar Laika by e-flux
224 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Bar Laika is very pleased to present the film Kappa (1986, 26 minutes) by Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley. The evening will be presented by filmmaker Adam Khalil.

Kappa is a boldly provocative and original work. Deconstructing the myth of Oedipus within the framework of an ancient Japanese folk story, the Yonemotos craft a highly charged discourse of loss and desire. Quoting from Buñuel, Freud, pop media, and art, they place the symbology of Western psychosexual analytical theory into a cross-cultural context, juxtaposing the Oedipal and Kappa myths in a delirious collusion of form and content. The Kappa, a malevolent Japanese water imp, is played with eerie intensity by artist Mike Kelley, while actress Mary Woronov plays Jocasta, a vamp from a Hollywood exploitation film. Steeped in perversions and violent longings, both the Kappa and Oedipus legends are presented in highly stylized, purposefully “degraded” forms, reflecting their media-exploitative cultural contexts. In this ironic yet oddly poignant essay of psychosexual compulsion and catharsis, the Yonemotos demonstrate that even in debased forms, cultural archetypes hold the power to move and manipulate.

California-based artists Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, brothers who produced a body of collaborative videos beginning in 1976, deconstruct and rewrite the hyperbolic vernacular with which the mass media constructs cultural mythologies. Ironically employing the image-language and narrative syntax of popular forms such as soap opera, Hollywood melodrama, and television advertising, the Yonemotos work from “the inside out” to expose the media’s pervasive manipulation of contemporary reality and fantasy, and individual and collective identity. In their highly stylized, deadpan fictions, they decode the tropes of cinematic and television formulas, self-consciously appropriating the artifice and cliches of this “media delirium” as metaphor. In their ironic psychosexual melodramas, including Vault (1984) and Kappa (1986), they decipher the Freudian symbology, psychoanalytic strategies, and Surrealist tactics that underlie media representations and narrative texts. The Hollywood myth of romantic love, and its role in the construction of personal desire and cultural memory, recurs throughout their work.

West-Coast artist Mike Kelley was one of the most provocative and influential figures in contemporary art. Kelley’s idiosyncratic body of work includes performance art, installations, and sculptures. His works negotiate a highly charged terrain of desire, dread, and sociopathology in everyday American life. For many years Kelley was involved in video projects as performer, collaborator, and maker. Among his collaborators are important figures in art, performance, film, and video, including Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, Ericka Beckman, Tony Oursler, Tony Conrad, Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto.

Adam Khalil (Ojibway) is a filmmaker and artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Hi recent films include INAATE/SE/ (with Zack Khalil; 2016), The Violence of a Civilization Without Secrets (with Zack Khalil and Jackson Polys; 2017), and Empty Metal (with Bayley Sweitzer; 2018).

For more information, contact

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