PRINT September 1999

Rachel Withers

THIS YEAR’S BIENNALE SEES THE ELEGANTLY crumbly “piano nobile” of the seventeenth-century palazzo Vendramin dei Carmini adorned with a string of black pearls: Jorge Molder’s monochrome photo sequence, entitled nox. Clad in sharp tuxedo, crisp cuffs, and handmade shoes, the Portuguese artist’s on-camera persona—a camp yet sinister cabaret artiste who deals in dazzling, disorienting tricks of light—is as mesmeric and slippery as a David Mamet character. In one image, struck in the face by the camera’s flash, he parries by turning a pocket mirror back at it, trapping a bright snatch of white light and cheating the viewer out of what, illogically enough, she expects will be a glimpse of her own reflection. Reading a sheet of transparent film, studying a blank newspaper, rubbing sleep from his eyes with a gesture that mimes looking through binoculars, Molder juggles themes of visibility and

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