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October 24th, 2006
Museum's 'Live Cinema' Series Continues With Videos And Related Objects By Internationally Acclaimed Artist Mircea Cantor


The Philadelphia Museum of Art will offer the most comprehensive presentation in the United States to date of videos by Mircea Cantor, a Romanian, Paris-based artist whose work has drawn much international attention in recent years. Live Cinema/Mircea Cantor: The Title Is the Last Thing (November 11–February 11, 2007) consists of eight videos accompanied by a selection of photographs and other objects that offer a commentary on the relationship between time, labor, politics, tourism, and history. The videos will be screened in the Film and Video Gallery (179), first floor (see schedule below) in context with the installation in Gallery 178.

Film and Video Gallery
Deeparture (2005) records the dance of a wolf and a deer in a small space at the Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris. It is a silent examination of ideas about nature and dominance that recalls a 1974 performance by Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) in which the German artist documented his weeklong coexistence with a coyote at the René Block Gallery in New York.

Other works reflect overtly political concerns. The Landscape is Changing (2003) depicts demonstrators marching in silence through the Albanian capital of Tirana, brandishing blank mirrors in lieu of slogans. In the brochure accompanying the installation, critic T. J. Demos suggests that these images provoke a “visual confusion during those moments when viewpoint is lost within a labyrinth of mirror images, eroding the distinction between reality and representation.” In Dead Time (2003), Thai taxi drivers kick a ball to one another while waiting to ferry tourists around town, underscoring the divide between a global tourist industry and service workers who make it possible. While Cantor’s treatment often blurs narrative, his use of multi-sensory techniques frequently amplifies the emotional resonance of his works, investing them with a cumulative foreboding.

In Double Heads Matches (2003) Cantor ironically employs a documentary approach to record how Romanian workers produced the artist’s absurd invention of a double-headed match. Because double phosphorus dipping can only be done by hand, rather than through an efficient, mechanized system, Cantor’s product resists the downsizing that has accompanied Eastern Europe’s transition toward capitalism and at the same time moves artistic production from the studio to the factory (two boxes of these matches will be on view). Cantor takes advantage of the visual, audio and temporal dimensions of video and probes the creative possibilities of other media, analyzing a range of artistic, cultural, and political topics.

Gallery 178
Many of Cantor’s works involve the manipulation of already existing systems and conventions. The photographic triptych, Short Cuts, registers the chance paths created by walkers based on their own volition rather than designated paths. Other works are playful comments on the legacy of Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), including the photograph of a pile of abandoned urinals, titled, I shot this image because it is highly suggestive within a specific circle (2006), which recalls Duchamp’s famous Fountain (1917), on view in gallery 182. Diamond Corn (2005), representing a basic food staple in diamond-like cast crystal, echoes the spare sculptures of the great Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), and 1 6M STIL7 ALIV3, which the artist will spray-paint directly onto the gallery wall, refers to the Manga character AnnLee, who, in Cantor’s hands, declares her independence and survival.

Artist Conversation
On Friday, November 10 at 6 pm, the artist will join Curator of Contemporary Art Carlos Basualdo and Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow of Modern and Contemporary Art Emily Hage for a lively conversation with about his work and creative influences in the Museum’s Seminar Room. This special event is free after Museum admission and open to the public.

About Mircea Cantor
Born in Romania in 1977, Mircea Cantor studied film and video as a student at the Academia de Arta 'Ion Andreescu,' Cluj-Napoca before moving to France for post-graduate study at the École Regionale des Beaux Arts, Nantes. Like Beuys and Marcel Duchamp, the artist works in a wide variety of media: from video and photography to prints and readymades. His work has been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAMeC) in Bergamo, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, among other institutions.


Video Schedule

  • Deeparture, 2005
    16 mm film transferred to DVD, 2 minutes, 43 seconds
    Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2006. Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 11–19, 2006
    December 12–17, 2006
    January 9–14, 2007
  • Double Heads Matches, 2003
    Mini DV transferred to DVD, 17 minutes, 17 seconds
    Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 21–26, 2006
    December 19–24, 2006
    January 16–21, 2007
  • Dead Time, 2003
    Mini DV transferred to DVD, 2 minutes, 23 seconds
    Private Collection, New York. Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 21–26, 2006
    December 19–24, 2006
    January 16–21, 2007
  • Smen, 2002
    Mini DV transferred to DVD, 6 minutes, 10 seconds
    Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 21–26, 2006
    December 19–24, 2006
    January 16–21, 2007
  • The Landscape Is Changing, 2003
    Mini DV transferred to DVD, 22 minutes
    Collection Bob Rennie and Carey Fouks, Vancouver. Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 28–December 3, 2006
    December 26–31, 2006
    January 23–28, 2007
  • (…), 2003
    Mini DV transferred to DVD, 7 minutes, 7 seconds
    Courtesy Bootleg and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 28–December 3, 2006
    December 26–31, 2006
    January 23–28, 2007
  • Tribute, 2004
    Mini DV transferred to DVD, 2 minutes, 45 seconds
    Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    November 28–December 3, 2006
    December 26–31, 2006
    January 23–28, 2007
  • Zooooooom, 2006
    Animation film and Mini DV transferred to DVD, 2 minutes, 50 seconds
    Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert Gallery.
    December 5–10, 2006
    January 2–7, 2007
    January 30–February 11, 2007
About Live Cinema
Live Cinema is a series of film and video programs at the Film and Video Gallery that explores the vast production of single channel video and film by a diverse group of local, national and international artists. In the last decade an ever-increasing number of contemporary artists have appropriated these media as an artistic outlet, in dialogue with the early video and Super 8 practices of the 1960s and the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Each installment of the Live Cinema series focuses on a specific aspect of this work, in order to both map and analyze this important aspect of contemporary art production. Programs are accompanied by a series of public lectures by the participating artists as well as a publication in which guest writers discuss the works exhibited.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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