Critics’ Picks

Eden—First Generation, 2005.

New York

Laleh Khorramian

Salon 94 | Bowery
243 Bowery
September 25–November 3, 2005

Laleh Khorramian’s animated film Chopperlady, 2005, opens with the outline of a woman, her hair pulled back into a chignon, who reaches into her belly and pulls out a baby—only to promptly toss it away. The nonchalant matricide marks the beginning of a surreal nine-minute journey that the woman embarks on, traveling through mottled, watercolor landscapes. Chopperlady rides in a helicopter (hence the name), which appears to be no more than a flimsy bit of paper, but moves with ease over rocky cliffs and oceans. Small, dark figures occasionally appear and sometimes perform acrobatics. At the film’s end, hundreds of tiny buzzing chopperladies fill the screen. The work is mysteriously gripping and quite beautiful. Part of its success hinges on John Cage–style chance operations: For example, the jangly, odd soundtrack is actually an Ennio Morricone composition played backwards. A huge monoprint titled Eden—First Generation, 2005, hanging opposite the film projection, reveals the source of at least some of the sites Chopperlady visits; sections of the print have been marked with notations such as “praying singing woman” and “film projected onto her absent face.” One can imagine the artist’s camera zooming in, picking up details that turn the layers of ink into earth-toned, Gauguinesque backdrops.