E’wao Kagoshima and Luther Price
6 Minerva St.
London E2 9EH
June 8 – July 27
Vilma Gold will be presenting a show of works by Luther Price and E’wao Kagoshima.
Boston-based artist Luther Price first became known in the late 1980s for his highly autobiographical Super 8 films and performances. Recently he has been splicing together new 16mm films out of old, often discarded footage. His methods are always extremely physical. Film leader is subjected to a variety of processes that push it to the limits of what it can withstand. It might be buried in the garden and left to decay for months, – insects included, or submerged in volatile substances. Often its contents and soundtrack are obsessively effaced and scratched away. Becoming very much a body that is built up and repaired and then traumatically decimated again in turn, Price’s insistence on the materiality of film in the end communicates something disarmingly psychological. The film is treated more like a living sculpture. The effect of all this is footage that is at once visceral, intensely emotional and wildly aesthetic.
Out of this process has come his new series of slides. Prints from the work ‘Utopia’, 2012 will be shown at the gallery. Made at a time when Price was looking mostly for human content, facial expressions etc., ‘Utopia’ is a work laced together from old 35mm film trailers. Despite the disconcertingly uncontained feel to his work, Price is scrupulously organised as regards his approach, keeping and categorising every scrap and outtake from the filmmaking process. This material, as well as other liquids and moving substances constitutes the slides, so that they become little vignettes, or highly concentrated and almost painterly versions of the films.
E’wao Kagoshima first became known in Japan in the late 1960s for his sculptures of cups and paint cans held aloft by their own frozen, cascading contents. On moving to New York in 1976 he quickly became involved with the Easy Village art scene, and this show, which includes works spanning four decades, marks the first UK presentation of the New York phase of his career.
Kagoshima flits between art historical styles in a mode that is agile to the point of having been described as promiscuous. Engendering a cast of slightly demonic polymorphous beings, his drawings and paintings on paper blend everything from Pop to Surrealism, Futurism, French Japonisme and Japanese Impressionism with unnerving ease. Elsewhere, as in his collages, the everyday is animated with a strangely preternatural sexual energy. Psychotropic drugs are an on-going reference point for Kagoshima and his work taps into an anxious, deviant space whose horror is amped up with touches of a distinctly simulated kind of naturalism.
Price and Kagoshima work in obviously different modes. Yet they appear to share a moment, one that is related to synthesising fragments of the real to a point more abstract yet also more acutely, or even painfully, subjective, in terms of their processes.