ASHES/ASHES is pleased to present INTERIORS, a solo exhibition by Alix Pearlstein. The exhibition will be on view January 11th–February 17th, 2019, with an opening reception Friday, January 11th, from 6–8 PM.
Produced and first exhibited in 1996, INTERIORS comprises a video, thirteen collages, and a viewing zone. Pearlstein re-stages the exhibition at ASHES/ASHES, adapted for 2019.
The video, “Interiors”, features six looping scenes starring Pearlstein in various guises: a white cat, the Playboy Party Jokes girl, an artist, the matriarch of a family of four, a statue, and the Energizer Bunny. In a 1996 TONY review, Bill Arning writes "I first thought her progression of personae was some sort of chronology of the roles women assume at various points in their lives, but that didn't quite work; these images are too much like media hallucinations to be habitable as identities”. Pearlstein’s characters transform through embodiment, role-play, choreographed action, gesture and language. Each action culminates in a pose with a direct address to the camera and the viewer. Grounded in the intimate studio approaches to performance-based video of the late 1960s to 1970s, the monitor as mirror acts here as site and stage, at once reflective and reflexive. “Interiors” is the first of Pearlstein’s video works set in a void space, a space outside of time and context other than what is enacted and composed within the frame. Posited here as a blank page, Pearlstein compressesthe planes of analog video. The minimal sets were constructed from paper, and props from readymade and fabricated objects which function as narrative link and structural device. From one scene to the next, the sets retain a single carry-over element, proffering re-decorating through re-purposing.
The thirteen collages present an arrangement of furniture, art, decorative objects, and a figurative element within perspectival space. A suite of six collages correspond to the six scenes in “Interiors”, while an additional seven collages suggest propositions for future acts. Images culled from taste-making publications speak to questions of style and status—concerns that hold personal meaning for Pearlstein, whose mother worked as an interior decorator.
Central to the exhibition, the viewing zone presents a physical iteration of the interiors visualized in the video and collages. The viewing zone situates the audience as a participant in the work, prefiguring the immersive experience of virtual-reality gaming and video. Over twenty years after its creation, INTERIORS serves as a vital link between time-based media of the past and present, raising questions about the intersection of consumerism and aesthetics, sexuality, identity, performance, and the camera’s gaze.
Initially shown at Postmasters Gallery in 1996, the exhibition travelled in 1997 to the MCA Chicago, curated by Dominic Molon, Flatland Gallery at Impakt Festival, and Pop Surrealism at the Aldrich Museum in 1998. Pearlstein was featured in MoMA's Video Viewpoints series in conjunction with the exhibition Young and Restless in 1997. “Interiors” was included in Up Close and Personal at ICA Philadelphia, also in 1997, and has travelled extensively since. Pearlstein is joined in the video by Michael Smith, Bogie Banovich, and Lena Dunham in her first performance on camera.
Alix Pearlstein's practice spans the fields of video, performance, installation and sculpture. Pearlstein exploits the legacies of Minimalism, structuralist film, and Postmodern dance to create an affective space between viewer and subject, the spatial and the psychological. She often works with ensemble groups of actors, mining their professional skills and subjectivity to explore behavior, relationships, and social constructs, while foregrounding the codes of acting and performance.
Selected solo exhibitions include: Grass, University of Kentucky Art Museum; Harem ROOM-1 and Two Women, Upfor Gallery; Harem ROOM-1, On Stellar Rays; The Park, de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum; The Drawing Lesson, Ballroom Marfa; The Dark Pavement, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; Goldrush, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; After the Fall, The Kitchen; The King, The Mice, and The Cheese, MIT List Visual Arts Center. Selected group exhibitions have been presented at: FRONT Triennial; Reyes Projects; The New Museum; Fieldwork, Art Basel Miami; INOVA; Whitechapel Gallery; ParaSite Hong Kong; The Nelson-Atkins Museum; MoBY-Museums of Bat Yam; Annual Exhibition of Visual Art Ireland; Manifestation Internationale d’Art de Québec and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Pearlstein lives and works in New York City and Orient, NY.