Ryan Trecartin

Born (1981) in Webster, Texas. He is an artist and filmmaker currently based in Los Angeles. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a BFA in 2004 and has since lived and worked in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami. In 2009, Trecartin was the recipient of the inaugural Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts; he received the New Artist of the Year Award at The First Annual Art Awards, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and was awarded a 2009 Pew Fellowship in the Arts. His work is featured in the Saatchi Gallery collection and has appeared in many museum exhibitions including: The Generational: Younger Than Jesus at The New Museum in New York (2009), Queer Voice at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2010), Between Two Deaths at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (2007), and the 2006 Whitney Biennial, as well as in recent solo exhibitions at The Power Plant, Toronto (2010), MOCA, Los Angeles (2010), and MOMA PS1, New York (2011), among others.

 

The logic that twirls the fiendishly tortuous narrative of I-BE AREA (2007) is grounded in a powerful understanding of our new millennial world as composed of manifold realities that are created, copied, or canceled at the will of life’s advanced players. The guiding drama of the video is how the ensemble cast of shifting, splintered identities exploits, submits to, or breaks free of the existential frictions caused by inhabiting multiple realities at once -through different public personas, online avatars, the ongoing lives of cloned versions of yourself, the erasures of previous identities that have been overwritten, or the old standby of children serving as vessels for anything you’ve ever wanted to be but aren’t.

 

While lots of art stares into the past to reflect the present, I-BE AREA meditates on a unique and concrete idea of the near future. It is social science fiction set in a time capsule of modern anxieties and technologies, sealed, tumbled, and amplified into a hyperbolic new world. Trecartin’s wizardry of self-cannibalizing video tracks, careening editing, and yuppie-dementia-born art direction cumulatively offers a perspective on today that feels truly distant from now. The video is interspersed with jarring reminders of normal humanity -performances by real babies, real cats, and real Ohio moms- adding a texture of analog realness that counterbalances the chroma-charged dream. I-BE AREA’s final shot is a panorama of Jamie’s wrecked bedroom, under which the actors, out of character, can be heard giggling before one of the smashed windows lights up with digital water and we’re plunged into an aquatic credit sequence. As if the whole movie were sucked up into a genie’s lamp, we see the space for what it is, without manipulations, three dimensions only.

 

What I-BE AREA unravels into is an Ouroboros of total freedom, in which command of infinite options devours linearity and, with it, any fixity of location or person. Everything is subject to revision. Supreme choice begins to resemble the absolute lack thereof, as both conditions are a step removed from the pulse of the surrounding world. But the power of freedom isn’t derived from its essence; it is told in the story of how it was won.

 

Kevin McGarry

Photos

I-Be Area, 2007, film, duration : 108΄Courtesy the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York
I-Be Area, 2007, film, duration : 108΄Courtesy the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York
I-Be Area, 2007, film, duration : 108΄Courtesy the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York
I-Be Area, 2007, film, duration : 108΄Courtesy the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York
I-Be Area, 2007, film, duration : 108΄Courtesy the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 Biennale de Lyon