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Exhibition: Elixir III by Marina Zurkow

grey) (area – space of contemporary and media art, Korcula, Croatia

11 – 27 . 8.2010

opening Wednesday August 11 .08.2010 from 21 to 23 h

Guest curator Sarah Cook (UK / Canada):

Marina Zurkow (USA): Elixir III (from the Elixir Series 2007-2009)

single channel animation

Elixir III is one of a series of four single channel animations by Marina Zurkow which encapsulate human endeavour relative to the sublime forces of the oceans and skies. A single cut crystal decanter bobs and spins in a watery seascape reminiscent of a Romantic painting, while the weather turns overhead. In each animation a line-drawn figure appears inside the bottle, striving in a repetitive action: rowing, diving, stumbling. In Elixir III, a young woman flaps her arms which are tied to paper wings, but never lifts into the air. The artist cites the influence of the paintings of waves and swells by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) yet the images read contemporaneously, drawn from modern day sources such as media coverage of dramatic weather events or holiday videos uploaded to the web, then rotoscoped by hand, frame by frame. Rain appears to splatter the screen, reminding us that we too are watching through a glassy surface.

Zurkow has made work on the theme of flooding and climate change in other forms, for a network of CCTV screens in a convention centre built adjacent to highway overpasses and a river prone to flooding, and for a panoramic site-specific projection on the side of a car parking lot in a US Gulf state. Here her work Elixir III is shown rear-projected, on a loop, in the doorway of a villa on the Croatian island of Korcula facing out to the water, with a haunting soundtrack by Pat Irwin. Churning away, the weather within the bottle (volcanic ash induced red sunsets and wind storms) manifests as a kind of instable magical potion, while the figure’s actions appear to act like a dynamo or combustion agent, although it seems there is nothing they alone can do to release this potion in order to change the state of the seas beyond the beautiful bottle in which they are trapped (it is said that even the ancient Greeks used oil, drop by drop, to calm a stormy sea for safe passage). This apparition of a vial of elixir, for our current environmental troubles, or in response to our subconscious desire for a medicine to induce forgetting, is all the more tantalizing at a time when we are inescapably conscious of what our effect our actions have on the waters that surround us.

The entire Elixir Series is showing simultaneously at Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco from July 10 to August 21, 2010.

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Marina Zurkow (based in Brooklyn, NY) makes psychological narratives about humans and their relationship to animals, plants and the weather. Her work includes multi-channel videos, customized multi-screen computer pieces, animated cartoons, interactive mobile works, and pop objects. She has undertaken residencies at Eyebeam in New York, Isis Arts in Newcastle and the Banff Centre in Canada, and has been commissioned to make new work for and exhibited internationally at FACT (Liverpool), FutureEverything (Manchester), SIGGRAPH, The Sundance Film Festival, ISEA 2006 / 01SJ Biennial (San Jose), Media City at the Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Ars Electronica, Rhizome, The Rotterdam Film Festival, Res Fest, Creative Time, The Kitchen, The Walker Art Center, The Brooklyn Museum, The National Museum for Women in the Arts, and at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. In 2003 she was awarded a Rockefeller New Media Fellowship and in 2001 a Creative Capital grant. Marina Zurkow teaches on New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).


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Sarah Cook is curator (of contemporary art) and editor/researcher/cofounder of CRUMB the resource for curators of media art at the University of Sunderland. She is coauthor of Rethinking Curating (MIT Press, 2010), a trustee of folly in Lancaster and was the inaugural curatorial fellow at Eyebeam in New York in 2008.

open daily 21 – 22 h or by appointment . free entrance

elixir III video clip :

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