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JH

Lacey Video and Sculpture

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A section of the image on the invitation Mock Vignelli newspaper layout from the seventies The Vignellis Ngaio Marsh

Also oblique is the video of the fake Vignelli newspaper. Lacey's point seems to be the optical transition from film to video, not the content of the moving image, the modernist design which is hard with the movement to appreciate anyway. However the grainy image is quite hypnotic, with a touch of the unhomely, as the paper sheets tumble, curl and twist in the wind, rolling along the ground. It is a similar device to shots in film noir of pages flicking down on a desk calendar.

Auckland

 

Sonya Lacey
Falling or almost falling


25 August - 25 September 2010

Two benches made of steel are not the most comfortable items of furniture to sit on in a cold gallery at the end of winter, but Sonya Lacey’s show of sculpture and video in The Film Archive (and recently shown in The Physics Room) is not designed to be user friendly. The seats are meant, it seems - from the promotional handout - to represent a materialised foil (as substance) to the more ‘dematerialised’ properties of two other works: one a video of a film of a newspaper mock up made by the great Italian husband and wife design team, Massimo and Lella Vignelli; the other a radio transcript from an interview with Christchurch’s renowned murder mystery novelist and playwright, Ngaio Marsh, where she is talking about her un-nerving experiences with (her own) premature obituaries in newspapers. It had happened twice. Falling or almost falling.

Marsh was interviewed about eighteen months before her death in 1982. The text is printed on light (unsubstantial) grey paper and you have to do a bit of detective work of your own - a spot of Googling - to find out who is talking. That is if you are interested, and you might not be because the presentation is very opaque. There is not much incentive to become curious.

Also oblique is the video of the fake Vignelli newspaper. Lacey’s point seems to be the optical transition from film to video, not the content of the moving image, the modernist design which the motion makes hard to appreciate anyway. However the grainy image is quite hypnotic, with a touch of the unhomely, as the paper sheets tumble, curl and twist in the wind, rolling along the ground. It is very much like a filmic trope for the passing of time as seen recently in Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film Broken Embraces, near the end. It is a similar device to shots in film noir of pages flicking down on a desk calendar.

Despite the appeal of the brief video loop, Lacey’s exhibition really needs a carrot; it is too rarefied and obscure to lead the visitor in, to involve them. It doesn’t engage.

John Hurrell

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