Critics’ Picks

Circle Sculpture, 2003.

Circle Sculpture, 2003.

Los Angeles

Alice Könitz

Vielmetter Los Angeles
1700 S Santa Fe Ave #101
February 21–March 20, 2004

In the wooded setting of Alice Könitz’s untitled video, “primitive” imagery (geometric masks and props) meets “primitive" facture in a series of three tableaux that recall the mannered staging of early cinema. Collaged from plays by Ionesco and other absurdist masters, the scenarios seem intent on going nowhere. The video calls attention to its “magical” ability to transform masked actors into bitchy models, costumes into couture, and props into works of art as, despite the idyllic setting, a cast of self-involved “beautiful people” perform a dystopian fable of social inaction. Situated in an adjacent gallery, Circle Sculpture, 2003, is a mod painted partition of open circles with reflective foil surrounding each void. It appears in the video as a prop and as a transition/partition between shots. The frankly decorative masks are on display too, but they're in the same room as the video, where they serve to heighten the tension between sculpture and prop. (Is a mask supposed to be looked at or through?) Constructed from earthy green and rust orange paper, as well as cardboard, foil, felt, and a few sets of eyeballs lifted from fashion magazines, the masks are kooky yet uncannily familiar, suggesting the ambitions of rainy day craft projects. Performing as sculpture, these props work their peculiar magic.