Critics’ Picks

Louidgi Beltrame, Nosotros también somos extraterrestres (We Are Also Extraterrestrials), 2014, HD video, color, sound, 38 minutes.

Louidgi Beltrame, Nosotros también somos extraterrestres (We Are Also Extraterrestrials), 2014, HD video, color, sound, 38 minutes.

Paris

Louidgi Beltrame

Jousse Entreprise | 6 rue Saint-Claude
6 rue Saint-Claude
September 13–October 31, 2014

Seven colorful American Apparel sweatshirts, arms splayed on bamboo sticks like hipster scarecrows, greet visitors to Louidgi Beltrame’s latest exhibition. Reminiscent of Hélio Oiticica’s “Penetrável” series, this circular cluster, Bizarre Innovation Style, 2014, invites the viewer to weave through and appreciate the sweatshirts’ silk-screened photographs of Peruvian ceramic vessels once used by Nazca shamans to mix psychotropic concoctions. This unexpected mash-up of contemporary and ancient cultures is equal parts Pop art and anthropological display. Curiously, this work, as well as Second Summer of Love, 1989, a 35-mm slide show flashing found images from a 1980s outdoor rave in Britain, is credited not to Beltrame but to René García Atuq. Ostensibly an artist, and the author of the exhibition’s first-person press release, Atuq was actually invented by the curator Elfi Turpin and Beltrame—an alter ego whose manifestation raises issues of authenticity and authorship.

A real artist whose presence is felt throughout this show is Robert Morris. Across several works, Beltrame invokes Morris’s Earthwork Observatory, 1971–77, and his seminal text “Aligned with Nazca,” published in Artforum in 1975. Morris’s site-specific piece, located on the outskirts of Lelystad, the Netherlands, first appears in a black-and-white photograph juxtaposed with a close-up of a Nazca line drawing. Both images suggest mysterious, forgotten ruins. Elsewhere, Beltrame’s thirty-eight-minute color video, Nosotros tambien somos extraterrestres (We Are Also Extraterrestrials), 2014, intercuts footage of Observatory during solstices and equinoxes with scenes of the artist Victor Costales reciting excerpts from Morris’s essay that links the Nazca desert’s ancient geoglyphs, known as the Nazca Lines, to his own generation’s Land art. Effectively collapsing a thousand years and many more miles, Beltrame’s elegiac images of the dusty landscape and an overgrown Observatory emphasize the shared otherworldliness of both sites.