ANTHONY McCALL Meeting You Halfway II
Galerie Thomas Zander is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by film and light artist Anthony McCall. Two of his most recent light installations, accompanied by large-format works on paper, are presented in the extended gallery space. In his works, McCall uniquely links a conceptual rigour, which has been unbroken since the 1970s, with an unforgettable viewing experience. Currently McCall's works are also on view at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, featuring the most comprehensive solo exhibition of Anthony McCall's recent installations to date.
The works of the New York based artist (born in St. Paul's Cray, England in 1946) inhabit a space between graphic art, film, performance, and mobile sculpture, while exploring and redefining the relation between viewer and work. Initially developed at the time of the Expanded Cinema movement, which breaks with the conventions of narrative cinema, McCall’s installations focus on the constitutive elements of cinema: light and time. The first and prototypical work of his own genre of solid light films, which the installations in this exhibition are also based on, is the 30-minute work Line Describing a Cone (1973), in which a white line on a black ground gradually completes a full circle. Projected into a room filled with thin haze, this line describes the volumetric form of a cone and thus a spatial installation is created by light.
While the early installations of the 1970s used variations of the circle or straight lines, McCall’s works since 2003 feature digitally animated curves and waves, which operate with an aesthetics of data visualisation. Reminiscent of algorithms, the curves allude to their computer aided creation, yet they are also evocative of organic movements as in the light installations Meeting You Halfway II (2009) and Throes (2011) shown on the gallery’s Second Floor. They use the structural form of the wipe, an effect from continuity editing in film that optically emphasises parallel actions by having one scene gradually replaced by the next. In Meeting You Halfway II two ellipses contract and expand at different intervals. Throes consists of sinuous, undulating lines, which form a circle. The screens of haze in McCall’s installations have formal aesthetic correspondences for example to Richard Serra’s solid steel walls. And the feedback from the physical and metaphysical experience of the viewer is equally inherent to both. The viewer can enter the installation as an immersive experience outside their everyday life. On the other hand, McCall reflects the human condition in the information age: a condition of being immersed in a beam of data. The solid light films can be regarded as escapist and analytical at the same time.
The light installations on the Second Floor are accompanied by drawings in the main gallery space, which serve as studies for McCall’s projects. The central group is the sequence Throes (2012). McCall calls these works the “footprints“ of his installations and singles out the lines of light in them, which become visible on the projection wall or floor of the black box. In the selected minimal drawings these two-dimensional forms are captured at different moments of the cycles. Looking at the drawing sequences the conceptual character of the installation becomes evident. In an exceptionally consistent way, McCall’s work reflects the parameters of space, time, and movement through different media and positions itself at the intersection between film and sculpture.
Especially over the last decade, the film and light installations of Anthony McCall have become a highlight of the international art world. Following exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Tate Britain and the Serpentine Gallery in London among others, the Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin currently presents an exhibition of spacious installations, for which the former train station was turned into a gigantic black box. The artist’s oeuvre is accompanied by numerous publications. A comprehensive catalogue of McCall’s conceptual works on paper from the 1970s will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne.