Angela Bulloch

Locus Solus

For her first solo exhibition in Italy, Angela Bulloch presented a composite array of work that combined already familiar pieces with some that had been created expressly for this occasion. Three of her luminous spheres glowed on and off according to different rhythms, two of them dependent on, one of them independent from, the movement of the viewer. Bulloch’s work generally investigates the norms that regulate collective behavior, in unexpected ways and situations, and here she focussed on the knowledge necessary to play video games.

A videotape, shot at the London Trocadero, one of the largest entertainment centers in Europe, showed various people engaged in similar activities, while a table held numerous copies of a small folder that explained everything one could do at the Trocadero, including a complete list of all the video games with relevant instructions for playing them. The pieces made specifically for this exhibition consisted of a videotape, shot first from inside an airplane then from inside a car, recording the entire journey made by the artist to arrive at the gallery. There were also two small maps showing the same route, from the London airport to the gallery; finally, there was an actual work by Haim Steinbach. The latter was accompanied by a photocopy of an extremely long fax that had been sent by Steinbach, giving detailed instructions for the upkeep of his piece. There were a rather shocking number of regulations concerning the best way to install his shelf and objects and how to take care of the piece, down to advice about the type of gloves to be worn for handling it. This ironic notation regarding the basic materials of artistic criteria served as a comparison between the function of the art system (the preservation of value), and the function of the systems of collective life. Earlier works by Bulloch included lists of rules explicitly related to the work-world of particular subjects (call girls, models). In these videos, however, she indicated implicit rules of behavior, either generic (driving a car in a city, even how to turn on a lamp), or specific to a certain social sector (young people playing video games). But in the works created for this show, she always dealt with a controlled relationship between a subject and a machine, that implied solitude, concentration, the capacity for choice, and a certain degree of competitiveness in order to avoid dangers and failures, real or simulated. All this had an obvious connection to masculine logic, a fact that Bulloch implicitly allowed to emerge from her work, and that she subtly disputed.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.