Critics’ Picks

Simone Forti, Flag in the Water, 2015, digital video, color, sound, 19 minutes 46 seconds.

Simone Forti, Flag in the Water, 2015, digital video, color, sound, 19 minutes 46 seconds.

Los Angeles

Simone Forti

The Box
805 Traction Avenue
November 14, 2015–January 9, 2016

Titled “On An Iron Post” after a line she selected at random from a poem by William Carlos Williams, Simone Forti’s latest exhibition surveys over fifty years of her work and includes drawing, sculpture, and video. Forti’s penchant for collaboration features prominently throughout, with nearly half of the works exhibited crediting friends, colleagues, even technicians. For instance, Charlemagne Palestine notably contributed music for her ensemble dance composition Touch in 1989, and Forti’s solo dance Stone Face at Cascade Falls, 1993, was made for her former teacher Anna Halprin’s series “I am Nature.” Both works are documented in videos shown here. But most poignant of the collectively made works on view are two videos recently done with her studio assistant, Jason Underhill. In each piece, Underhill’s camerawork responds to Forti’s improvised dance piece. The two evidently share an unspoken dialogue, a give-and-take built from years of working together, with mutual trust and respect. Forti’s work makes the struggle of collaboration look easy, imbuing her process with grace and humility.

It seems the act of looking back inspired Forti, at age eighty, to push her process forward through the repurposing of objects, imagery, and ideas in more recent work. Consider the canvas flags she uses in Flag in the Water, 2015, her newest video, projected in the main gallery. These objects were also used as props in earlier performances, from 2004, a video of which plays on monitors in a smaller gallery. For Past/Future, 2012, Forti crumpled a page with the words “Past” and “Future” penned in ink and set it on a green pedestal as a unification of drawing, object, and theater—a poetic meditation on history and what is to come.