Phil Collins

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street
November 2, 2017–December 16, 2017

Phil Collins, Tomorrow Is Always Too Long, 2014, video, color, sound, 91 minutes.

In baghdad screentests, 2002, he auditioned everyday Iraqis for a nonexistent Hollywood movie, throwing Andy Warhol’s example into the harrowing pause between international sanctions and a catastrophic war. In they shoot horses, 2004, he filmed two groups of teenagers in Ramallah, Palestine, who danced for eight hours straight, treading delicately toward ideas of heroism, exhaustion, and collapse through tracks by Beyoncé and Bananarama. In marxism today (prologue), 2010, he added a Stereolab sound track to the discomfiting creep of nostalgia for a set of systems and structures that failed, for all their promise.

If you’re of the opinion that the last of those works by Phil Collins is one of the best essay films by an artist ever made, then you might find his latest exhibition here curious—darker in mood, more ambitious in terms of material. An immersive installation surrounds the twenty-one-minute video Delete Beach, 2016, created in collaboration with a renowned anime studio in Japan. Small sand dunes spill through the lower gallery, strewn with cheap beach furniture, discarded milk crates, an abandoned walker, rubber tires, and pools of oil that bubble and shimmer to a light show. The film tells a totally convincing story about a post-oil economy gone dystopically wrong, pitting the First Wavers against the renegade, anticapitalist Burners.

Linked by a small selection of lithographs based on cel drawings from the making of the film, Delete Beach is paired here with Tomorrow Is Always Too Long, 2014, a complex, ninety-one-minute portrait of Glasgow as experienced through the extremes of its residents, including improbable young parents, wasted ravers, petty criminals, and angry mystics. The throughline, of course, is Collins’s pop sensibility and incomparable ear for music. Don’t miss the film’s “intermission,” featuring “voodoo-rave-sensations” Golden Teacher.

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie