Shannon Oksanen


Nostalgia is everywhere in contemporary art, but in the new work shown here by Canadian artist Shannon Oksanen it feels unusually bracing. The main attraction was a video projection whose two channels were screened on adjacent walls, in the manner of Pipilotti Rist. But in contrast to Rist’s (already) classic dual-screen works like Sip My Ocean, 1996, and Ever Is Over All, 1997, the principal action in Oksanen’s Greensleeves, 2004, takes place on the right channel, whereas its more lyrical or decorative complement takes place on the left. This apparently insignificant reversal is formally consequential, playing against the tendency in a culture that reads from left to right to give visual emphasis to the left side of a composition. What’s seen on the right-hand channel is the image of a woman, the artist herself, in a large, high-ceilinged studio, playing a Fender guitar hooked up to a

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