Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Ange Leccia, Logical Song (detail), 2013, video, color, sound,   32 minutes.

Ange Leccia, Logical Song (detail), 2013, video, color, sound, 32 minutes.

Ange Leccia

Musée d’art Contemporain du Val-de-Mane

Ange Leccia, Logical Song (detail), 2013, video, color, sound,   32 minutes.

A “musical that’s shown on several different screens as part of a larger installation”: This is how Ange Leccia describes Logical Song, 2013, a work consisting of twelve videos projected in a loop on six walls that were themselves distinct sculptural presences. Four of the walls were installed at the center of the exhibition space, at ninety-degree angles, with the videos playing on them simultaneously. On the other two walls, which were at the ends of the room, the videos were projected, the timing of their sequence slightly delayed with respect to those on the other four walls. The effect was a bit like the echo of a voice spreading through the space. This symmetrical architecture, through which viewers could walk, created a room of memories.

First, there is the memory of adolescence, a phase of development that constantly recurs in Leccia’s work, here represented by a face in the foreground and by the intensity and fragility of a sustained glance. Then there is the auditory memory explicitly referenced in the title—a 1979 hit by Supertramp, performed on Leccia’s sound track by female vocalists—which constitutes the connective fabric between one screen and another. Then there is cinematographic memory; film buffs will recognize, among other things, a passage from Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le fou (1965). Finally, memory is at the heart of Leccia’s way of making and assembling images in motion. Logical Song is an audio-visual medley made up of brief segments of his earlier works alternated with footage shot over the years without any specific artistic intention other than developing a focus on the everyday, as in the film diaries of Jonas Mekas—for instance, images in Super 8 shot at the Villa Medici in Rome in 1981, when the artist was in residence there. We glimpse him against the light in his studio, opening a large window that looks out onto a still-unknown landscape. In order to conjure up the memory of the place and its historical stratigraphy, Leccia feels the need to put that memory at a distance, to make it visible through the mediation of the technological device. A window is no longer sufficient. Similarly, he has a habit of filming already-filmed images, as in True Romance, 2004—a segment of which is present in Logical Song—in which he recaptures a program that was broadcast on Japanese TV in the 1990s.

At a time when there is a return to heated discussions about the specificity—and fate—of the cinematographic apparatus with regard to multiscreen installations and the dissemination of films on every type of support, Leccia continues not to differentiate between cinema and the visual arts. He is interested in moments in film when narration is suspended and the visual aspect predominates. In this way, he says, “film was becoming a territory of the sublimation of art.” Logical Song indiscriminately combines material taken from the history of cinema or television with private images tied to the artist’s own life. Leccia finds these two registers in music, which both has the capacity to be universal—the sound track is made up of well-known songs, beginning with some by Pink Floyd—and at the same time reveals an experience that is difficult to share: Some of these songs have been part of the artist’s world since he first heard them on the sound track to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970). In other words, the material that makes up Leccia’s video images is an intricate fabric of perceptions and memories. They are close to what Victor Burgin, in The Remembered Film (2004), calls a “sequence-image,” that is, a “concatenation” that “might [rather] be compared to a rapidly arpeggiated musical chord, the individual notes of which, although sounded successively, vibrate together simultaneously.”

Riccardo Venturi

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.