المعرض
Exhibition

 

Dervish and Dervish Cairo

Jennifer Steinkamp is representing the United States with a three-channel video projection of her animation Dervish (2004–2005), installed with a suite of three prints, Dervish Cairo (2008).

In Dervish, digitally drawn trees swing and sway to unheard rhythms and unseen forces toward unknown promise. Strange and graceful, they twist both slowly and rapidly, reach in all directions, stretch and yet stay locked in a robotic rotation of variable tempo. Invisible root systems keep them grounded while their trunks, branches, and leaves play eloquent parts in an orchestrated dance. The trees are truly animated: a virtuoso combination of drawing and movement renders them as figures upon which our fantasies and/or fears may be projected. Engaging and mysterious, they exude a ghostly quality, haunting us with the sense that there is more—or perhaps less—than meets the eye.

In Dervish Cairo, debuting at the Eleventh International Cairo Biennale, a suite of three prints is installed in tandem with a three-channel video installation of Dervish. The prints propose a simulation of dervish trees, as if projected along Cairo’s urban landscape. Using photography and digital drawing, the imaginary trees are visualized on the street walls of Cairo. The flat, artificial quality of the drawing contrasts with the urban architecture of the city, highlighting the passage of time by envisioning the interaction of the ancient and the contemporary. Through the exhibition of both prints and video installation, the viewer is able to see Steinkamp’s trees move through three kinds of spaces. First and fundamentally, the trees exist in virtual space as digital drawings, artificial flora in the no-man’s space of digital code. Second, when transferred into the video installation, they occupy a three-dimensional temporal space. Physical space gives the trees their uncanny life—their opportunity to be full-scale and familiar while simultaneously automated and eerie. Third, when the drawings are superimposed onto a photograph of real space, they exist in the visualized space of the digital photomontage. This space is dependent on imagined conditions, unrestricted by real constraints and purporting to alter actual space. In Steinkamp’s installation for the Cairo Biennale, it is clear that her digital forms shift with ease across the first and second dimensions of line and surface, the third dimension of space, and the fourth dimension of time.

Excerpted from essay On Dervish by Kimberli Meyer.

To view more of Jennifer Steinkamp’s artwork, please visit jsteinkamp.com

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Essay: Simulated Realities: The Art of Jennifer Steinkamp >

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