Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the Merciful
Curated by Jerome Jacobs
February 10 – April 29, 20 at Feigen contemporary , 535 W. 29th St.

This group show, has a few photo an video based works. I was quite taken with the two videos by Nezaket Enkici. In one video, the face of a young woman in red head scarf, fills the TV screen. The action begins as she jerks her head about in a circular fashion to begin spinning a bright purple hula hoop about her neck. A sound track with a lively, happy production music score can be faintly heard over the screen’s speaker. Nominally an exercise activity or a child’s game this video imagery of the hula hoop evokes a distinctly unsettling quality. With downcast eyes and a pained expression, the woman’s actions appear to be a manifestation of an obsessive compulsive disorder. This image of a severe looking young woman dressed in ostensibly Muslim garb presents an extreme contrast to the long held western associations about hula hoops: a fun loving, shapely bathing suit clad woman gyrating to keep the hoop orbiting around her body. This video is not about having fun.

In the other video, the woman is clothed entirely in black, including the headdress. Grabbing the ends of her scarf with both her hands, she violently shakes the fabric about her head, in a kind of self flagellation. The audio track reproduces the flapping sound of the cloth.

Ekici’s resume notes her studies with Marina Abramovic, and that tutelage is evident in these videos. Nevertheless, the two short films are quite haunting.

Richard Misrach on view at Pace Wildenstein from March 25 through April 22, 2006 at 534 West 25th Street. Presented in this show is a Whitman Sampler of Misrach’s photographs from over 30 years and most will be rather tasty bites. Beginning with his black and white desert photographs, one can see the innovation and originality that Misrach has brought to this medium. Misrach’s long term pursuit of landscape imagery has yielded a remarkably consistent sensibility which has probed the expressive potential of his subject and materials. The work assembled in this show has been very influential to the work of other photographers.

If you have not followed Misrach’s career, this retrospective will be essential viewing.

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