Concrete Buildings

Erin Shirreff

In Residence: Sep 17 – Nov 18, 2013

Exhibition: Nov 14, 2013 – Jan 12, 2014

Where did the material for these videos come from?

The footage and still images were originally captured during my residency with the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. The two buildings pictured are on the outskirts of the foundation property—they are unfinished prototypes designed by Donald Judd to house particular bodies of his work. I was drawn to them, I think, because of this eerie limbo state they’re in: half newly built and half falling apart. And I think also because, despite their intense physicality—the concrete and rebar—they’re very shell-like, almost delicate. Like line drawings come to life. There is a haunting blankness about them.

How did you create the videos?

I took many pictures on site of both buildings over the course of a week or so, early in the morning or late at night, under sun and clouds. I re-photographed a selection of these images in my studio using different exposures and analog effects, and the videos are composed of this secondary material, along with short segments of recorded footage. As the videos progress they transition from photograph, to photograph-of-photograph, to video…. I want there to be some slippage in the visual experience, so that, for instance, you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is frozen in time or just momentarily still, or if the sky is brightening because dawn is breaking, or because the photograph is overexposed. The videos become immersive at points, but then reassert their ‘thingness’ periodically.

Can you tell us about the presentation of the videos?

I think of the two videos as one work; they’re different lengths so they keep connecting in new ways as the loops progress. The leaning billboard-like structure feels very solid and present in the space, while the double-sided projection screen is more immaterial and almost disappears when you look at it from the side—the image floats. These two modes of presentation lend the images very different properties. This hopefully contributes to the visual experience I was describing above. I had this installation in mind from the beginning of my residency at Artpace. I like how the scale of the projections fit the space. They’re large but not overwhelming and the room is very dim but not completely dark like a theater. Maybe you get absorbed by the videos, but you’re still standing in this room, still very present in your body.


Erin Shirreff

New York, New York, USA

Working in multi-media, New York-based artist Erin Shirreff’s work encourages the viewer to see objects in new ways: unsettling spacial and sensory experience by creating sculptural works specifically for the camera that confuse perception; layering still photographs in video to present a new experience of the Moon or James Turrell’s great unfinished Roden Crater work (2009); exploring myriad interferences of glare and shadow at play on a computer screen; and presenting only one façade of a familiar Tony Smith work in an outdoor commission, Sculpture for Snow. Shirreff holds an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. Her work has been presented in numerous in solo and group exhibitions including Inside the White Cube at the White Cube, London; Lake at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; The Locker Plant at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa; and Still, Flat, and Far at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

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Paola Morsiani

Purchase, NY

Paola Morsiani assumed her current position as Director of the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College in July 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, she held the position of Curator of Contemporary Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She previously held the position of Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from 1999 to 2008, where she curated exhibitions that include Andrea Zittel: Critical Space and Subject Plural: Crowds in Contemporary Art, as well as Wishing for Synchronicity: Works by Pipilotti Rist. In 2005, Morsiani’s Andrea Zittel exhibition was awarded Best Design and Architectural Exhibition by the International Association of Art Critics/USA.

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