O'Born Contemporary


Movement Never Lies

Soft Turns: An Installation of Video Works

August 7 – August 21, 2013


curatorial statement

Movement Never Lies

Movement does, in fact, lie. Shadows indicate displacement where there is none and time can be visually manipulated to produce fictitious motion that hovers just above the threshold of perception. In a more topographic sense, the migration of flora and fauna over history's span is often adopted as a veritable record of biology's development, but is ultimately misleading. Family histories are inflated with anecdotal travelogia and indigenous plant species turn up in the least suspected places. The intercessor between place and time is movement. And yet…though the two constants (or variables, rather?) of place and time are nearly always associated with each other, they really are separate entities. Changing the place your body is located does not necessarily mean altering the spectrum of time in which you exist. Analogously, spasms in time's continuum, or the dissolution of one's understanding of how time is passing, need not necessarily indicate that movement in space has occurred.

Temporary states of existence and physical volume-both chronological and spatial-inform Soft Turns' stop motion animations. In conversation, the four selected videos presented here as Movement Never Lies construe transitory states of being as a regard on movement and its chameleon-like nature. "A Passage" (2010), delivered through the interface of a round-edged television screen, counter-poses a convex reflection of the room in which the old-fashioned apparatus sits against the sporadic lateral motion of a projection-the neon blue exterior of a train. The back-grounded scene exudes a hazy lethargy as the leaves on the imaged trees shudder in rebellion of a static red light bulb. Periodic sweeps of the train overlay reflected foliage from the locomotive's own windows atop those in the background, forcing both mirages to participate in a conversation as tenuous as the flight of spores that spreads plant species. Furthering the contemplation of the bounds of self and location, "St. Helena Olive Tree, Extinct 1884-1977, 2013-" (2010), exposes a tremor in this peculiar genus' biological lineage, having gone extinct not once, but twice since 1884. A tightly framed shot of a paper replica-fashioned after the only image of the plant on the internet-hosts an almost ritualistic imprinting and colluding of object and cast shadow. This recalls the Bataillean informe, in which the shadow is an operation set against the figure, fragmenting the plant's body as it temporarily folds and unfolds itself from existence. The tactile crunch of rustling paper becomes evidence for the presence of what would otherwise be a phantom. Sound also pays an important compliment to "Behind the High Grass" (2011), a video presenting alternating views of a moving freight train's exterior and interior. The inert, almost draughtsman-rendered appearance of the car's interior is only accentuated by the muffled plodding of wheels on a track. This simulated vacuum heightens the implausible motion of a panel composited into the bed of the car-a lightbox that once more revisits the visual of trees flickering by. Startling in contrast, the speed and cacophonous noise of short, intermittent segments of the train's exterior racing by dispossess viewers from the reality they are attempting to occupy. The tension set up between varying velocities here is tantamount to that in "Just Add Water" (2007), the fourth and final video in the presentation of Movement Never Lies. Located within the confines of dimly lit, tiled subway tunnels and narrow underground stairwells, water sluggishly fills the pictured space at a pace that is just perceptibly unnatural. This movement enunciates a perverse relationship with the accelerated speed of the debris witnessed coasting across the water's surface, ultimately making the viewer question the scale, time lapse, and material legitimacy of what they are looking at.

about the artists

Soft Turns is the collaborative effort of artists Sarah Jane Gorlitz and Wojciech Olejnik. Currently based in Toronto, Canada, they have been collaborating on video installation and stop-motion animation since 2006. The idea of an encounter with something, as an ever-changing space between the foreign and the familiar, the accessible and inaccessible, is a central theme of their practice. Their collaborations employ found objects, common, easily available materials (i.e. paper and plywood), D.I.Y. methods, and experimentation as much as intuition to make stop-motion animations and installations that invite viewers into an active encounter with a narrative, subject or space.

Wojciech (MFA University of Waterloo 2002) and Sarah Jane (MFA Malmö Art Academy 2011) have received support from the Swedish Edstrand Foundation, as well as numerous grants from the Toronto, Ontario, and Canada Arts Councils; including the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize in 2008 and a 2013 CCA Paris Residency. In 2011 they were featured in the Fall issue of Canadian Art. They have exhibited frequently in Canada and internationally; having recent solo exhibitions at YYZ (Toronto), Southern Exposure (San Fransisco), Foundation 3,14 (Bergen), Skånes konstförening (Malmö) and Greusslich Contemporary (Berlin), and significant group exhibitions such as SESC_Videobrasil 18th and 17th International Contemporary Art Festival (São Paulo), Now&After '12, Museum of Modern Art (Moscow), Interaccess (Toronto), Dortmund Bodega (Oslo), Soap Factory (Minneapolis), and in early 2014, Oakville Galleries (Oakville).