Wednesday, 1 February 2012

More From The Performance Critic

Finn Aschavir
His Dark Materials @ GFT

Aschavir has always had a strong moral centre in his work: whether toying with photography or building entire online networks that fold in on themselves to create endless feedback loops (that famously made the entire Internet break for twenty minutes), he has sought to expose the absurdity of lazy assumptions and, like a post-modern David Bowie, shattered and reconstructed his own image relentlessly.

His Dark Materials is not a retrospective, as expected, but an entire new direction. Starting with a simple sound collage, Aschavir occupies the cinema with noise and bright imagery, before sliding into a more relaxed and immersive colection of found sounds and monochrome stills. Whispered confessions, fragments of interviews with performance superstars - including one memorable ramble from Foxy and Hush - slip in and out of audibility, wryly commenting on both the myths around Aschavir and the more general myths about art.

Despite the ironic, bricolage exterior, there is a gentle charm in His Dark Materials. It celebrates the ordinary, and the bravery of everyday life by parodying the antics of the good and great, holding them to the light and letting them become over-exposed. In the fitting final frames, the screen itself seems to burn, leaving only the warm glow of regard that moves between Aschavir and his delighted audience.

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