Kim Abeles and Ken Marchionno
“Based on a True Story”
This exhibit was originally created for the Armory 20th Anniversary Exhibition Installations Inside/Out September 20 – December 31, 2009 Jay Belloli and Sinéad Finnerty-Pyne, curators Armoryarts.org
Kim Abeles' Past Phantom Gallery:
Carbon Studies a solo show, February 2009.
Curated by Edgar Varela and Liza Simone
Gallery page link to CARBON STUDIES
Based on a True Story is a mixed media installation using drawing, video, and still images to interrogate the way American Indians are viewed in contemporary society. The installation employs full-scale drawings of three bedrooms that are mounted as wallpaper, each room representing a different stage in life—child, adolescent, adult. With embedded videos and images taken from pop culture and documentary practice, the rooms combine to offer a trajectory of representation.
Abeles and Ken Marchionno make canny use of their space, papering a room with digitally drawn wallpaper. All the elements of a bedroom are drawn in black outline on the walls--shelves, furniture, posters--but in place of the TV and computer screens we find picture frames; in some of the drawn spaces within the wallpaper design, there are real video clips and photos of horses and Indians peering through. The contrast between the color images and the black lines catches the viewer’s eye, and the smaller scale (most of the images are index card-sized) makes them quite approachable. The voyeuristic desire to explore somebody else’s bedroom is activated as you move along the wall trying to make sense of the scenes of galloping herds and teepee building. The screen playing Disney’s “Pocahontas” offers a broad hint: the viewer is meant to question his or her own perceptions of Native Americans in today’s culture, and those inquiries arise naturally through the juxtaposition of the various clips and photographs
About Kim Abeles:
Abeles' artwork chronicles contemporary issues housed in multi-media installations in a limitless array of mediums, combining high- and low-tech processes, and including video and web-based projects. Since the mid-80s, Kim Abeles has consistently produced artwork about the environment. In 1987, she invented a method to create images from the smog in the air, and Smog Collectors brought her work to national and international attention. The urban environment, feminism, aging, HIV/AIDS, labor, and collective memory are some of the issues she has engaged. She has created artwork in conjunction with a unique range of collaborators such as the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, California Science Center, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the Lakota Indians of South Dakota.
Encyclopedia Persona A-Z toured the United States and South America and she continues to exhibit internationally. Abeles has received fellowships from J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and the California Arts Council. Currently, she is completing artwork for CSC’s Ecosystems (opening this March), and continuing with art about pollution and gender that was exhibited for COP15 in Copenhagen.
About Ken Marchionno
In 2006 Ken Marchionno started the Future Generations Teen Photojournalism Project to offer American Indian youth the opportunity to learn photography by imaging a nearly three hundred-mile memorial horseback ride that has become a modern tradition. The project provides cameras and computers to Lakota youth from Reservations in South Dakota. Over a two-week period, each day they produce and upload images to the internet, from the field, so that people all over the world can follow along as the Ride progresses. Using advances in current technology, the Project allows the Ride a greater audience, and offers Reservation youth inroads into the politics of representation.