New York

“Narrative Urge”

Lombard-Fried Projects

Though curator Catsou Roberts’ stated aim in “Narrative Urge” was to present work that compelled the viewer to “assembl[e] the narrative fragments and assign meaning within the structure of the work,” this goal immediately ran into problems with the genealogical anchor for the show, Victor Burgin’s Love Stories #2, 1996. Here, three video monitors on elegant plinths presented what read as surveillance footage of quotidian activities. Each loop eventually faded out to a screen of saturated color, at which point a fragment of audio material from different Hollywood films—a female protagonist’s voice addressing a male character—would play. The incoherence of the juxtaposition was only heightened by a fragment of text stretching across the gallery wall behind the monitors: “Driving Fast on Empty Freeways.” Despite Burgin’s use of narrative cinematic fragments, there was little if any love

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