Campoli Presti

Tony Oursler

25 Apr - 11 May 2013

© Tony Oursler
Phobic / White Trash
Installation view
25 April – 11 May 2013
Campoli Presti, Paris
Phobic / White Trash
25 April - 11 May 2013

On the occasion of the exhibition of Tony Oursler and Mike Kelley’s installation The Poetics Project (1977-1997) at the Centre Pompidou, JGM. Galerie is pleased to present Tony Oursler’s installation Phobic/White Trash (1992), which had never yet been shown in France. The exhibition will be presented at Campoli Presti gallery.

Tony Oursler and Mike Kelley collaborated throughout the years, since they formed the legendary protopunk music/performance group the Poetics at California Institute of the Arts in 1976. Importantly, Oursler invited Kelley to participate in his early 1990s dummy series, which resulted in Phobic/White Trash. Recorded in NY and LA in 1992, the starkly dramatic installation juxtaposes two opposing figures who interact as much as they interrupt one another, poised and intersecting the room diagonally, droning ever on. A comment on the sprawling, chaotic, intoxicated and escapist landscape of suburban America, the two scripts take distinctly different approaches to this zone. Kelley strings together a series of tales, each resolving in a claustrophobic anxiety-drenched dilemma. His performance causes the viewer to empathize with the conditions of the Phobic through direct address. Oursler takes the point of view of a fusing domestic setting with media tableaus, putting the viewer in the position of a floating camera.

From an interview in that year with Elizabeth Janus, Oursler states, “I was thinking a lot about how movie time? media time, the camera, the narratives? has really punctured our world, how it is the fourth-dimensional space of our time. I tried to make figures that could exist in between the interior and exterior worlds, literally, like seers that we can’t see and can’t see us. You can begin to see this in Phobic and White Trash.” Oursler continued, “These works are a bridge between two subsets of dummy projects: the “movie” series and the series based on psychological states. These two subsets intersected in a sea of blood, so to speak; or, more simply put, in my ongoing interest in violence. I’m questioning the impulse to reenact extremely elaborate violent trauma? a violence that takes on ritual dimensions? and whether this is somehow a positive service that the media performs for the public or whether we are involved in some kind of sick cycle. Anyway, death and the fear of death seem to be great motivators.”

Phobic/White Trash has been shown at Centre d’art contemporain Geneve (1993), Kunstwerke Berlin, and Andrea Rosen, New York. It will be shown for the first time in France at Campoli Presti, which invites JGM. Galerie for the occasion.

Tags: Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler