Critics’ Picks

Circle Circle, 2007, stills from a two-channel color video projection, 10 minutes.

Los Angeles

Kelly Nipper

Anna Helwing Gallery
2766 S. La Cienega Boulevard
September 15–October 27

Kelly Nipper’s movement study Circle Circle, 2007, is a spellbinding two-channel video projection filling the gallery’s east and west walls with footage of a dancer seen from behind while continuously tracing circles with the steady revolution of her hips. One side of the projection runs in real time, with each revolution spanning two seconds, while the facing image plays in slow motion, so that every movement takes twice as long to complete. Falling in and out of sync with her mirror image, the rhythmic simplicity and metronomic regularity of the dancer’s circling movements quickly become hypnotic. Hypnosis makes possible the hypnagogic and anticipates the dizzying influence of drugs, allegorically embodied by the dancer’s spinning hips. Nipper demonstrates a performative discipline and a rigorous economy that achieve a trancelike effect over viewers through minimal means. Staring is a valid response that will generate productive optical ambiguities and illusions: Her long black hair and leotard seem to disappear into the frame’s black backdrop, further defamiliarizing the robotic body into floating limbs. At the far end of the gallery, each of the videos’ choreography is elaborately analyzed using the Laban method of movement notation, while a nearby sound booth amplifies the irregular dripping of nine melting ice cubes suspended like teardrops over a drum panel.