lux 01 – William Basinski & James Elaine | video exhibition

lux 01 – William Basinski & James Elaine | video exhibition, 2014, poster.

October 18 – November 16, 2014
Museolaboratorio Ex Manifattura Tabacchi
Vico Lupinato 1, Città Sant’Angelo (Pescara) – Italy

William Basinski & James Elaine

Marco Marzuoli, Rossano Polidoro, Enzo De Leonibus
Enzo De Leonibus

lux. Innovative research between music and video art. From October 2014, the Museolaboratorio of Città Sant’Angelo (Pescara, Italy) launched a fascinating project presenting different form of contemporary art for public consumption in the context of a museum conceiving it as artistic space of universal knowledge.

01. William Basinski & James Elaine. In the late seventies, James Elaine and William Basinski began a very close work collaboration creating some of the most poetic installations of the 21st century. Using original scores, stolen sounds, echoes and tape loops, Basinski’s compositions generate a dreamy nest for Elaine’s hesitating paintings in super 8. Exploiting obsolete and analog technologies, Basinski and Elaine investigate the temporary nature of life.

A path composed of 5 audiovisual “contemplations” will lead you through the twisty rooms of the Museolaboratorio revealing the dreams of the two American artists.

It takes me a lot of time before grasping a place’s inner nature, someone or a work of art. My observations often turn out to be inconclusive. I couldn’t define my relationship with the Museolaboratorio’s static and cunicular spaces if it weren’t for the intense scent of existence given out by its skin, its organic and stratified textures, its signs, wounds and memories.
It was precisely the museum’s attitude in building a strong relationship with the human being that highlighted the need of taking up a series of “ambience studies”. When we first came up with lux and consequently embraced the willingness of approaching sound compositions blended with moving images, the millennial stones of the Ex Manifattura Tabacchi expressed their willingness of welcoming existential, imperfect and human poetries. Without the slightest hesitation we immediately thought about the work of James Elaine and William Basinski.

Useless melancholy
Often contemporary art’s expositive system struggles to accept – and meld with – its neighboring languages without swallowing them up awkwardly. For instance, music is frequently relegated to minor confines, being considered for its conceptual features rather than its own aesthetics. However, before getting into the deep core of Basinski / Elaine’s symbiotic universe, I believe we should free their work in the macro field of the art. The “museumification” of the signs immerged in the blue of Blueprints on a Winter Pond or the lingering trajectories of Nocturne (TV in Africa) means recognizing their substance, volumes and surfaces. It means discovering them as sediments of memories, exploring them as fossils of sound and vision. Idols. Unique
 in their irreproducibility but easily duplicable, William’s magnetic tapes, just like James’ super-8 ones, are minerals to be engraved by artistic actions of pure beauty: a rare example in the contemporary art scenario where physical and intellectual properties share the same meaning. They are records of impressed memories, works of art that, in the modern digital era, claim their existence as such, free from the novellistic and functional approach. The impossible, eternal and nostalgic research of the American duo shatters and decontextualizes the signifier through its interpretation. Exploring Basinski/Elaine’s work is very much like getting lost in a vintage market and buying memories already consumed by the current consumer world.

lux 01 is a a real, tactile exhibition where James Elaine’s moving painting materializes William Basinski’s melodious melancholy, a union of deep and sublime sensitivity.