Jaspar Joseph-Lester


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One Way Street

Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery

Video works by: Amanda Beech, Pierre Bismuth, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Mark Leckey, Roman Vasseur

Curated by: Amanda Beech, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Matthew Poole

One Way Street is an exhibition of five international artists working with video:
Amanda Beech, Pierre Bismuth, Mark Leckey, Jaspar Joseph Lester, Roman Vasseur.

The exhibition is part of a long-term research project between Dr. Amanda Beech (Director of MA
Critical Writing Curatorial Practice, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art, UAL, London, UK), Dr.
Jaspar Joseph-Lester (Leader of MA Contemporary Art Curating, Sheffield Hallam University, UK),
and Matthew Poole (Director of MA Gallery Studies and Critical Curating, University of Essex, UK).

The show will tour to KX Gallery, Hamburg, Germany in October, 2007

A site-specific environment transforms the gallery into a space of disorientation and spectacle.
Reclaiming the design work of Kurt Schwitters’ “Merzbau - Cathedral of Erotic Misery”, 1923-43, and
the mechanics of the moving but essentially static stage sets of classic Hollywood and postmodernity,
the exhibition manifests video as parts of its architecture and vice versa. The exhibition draws upon
the notions of cinematic space as an architectural (monumental) field, our social lives as a cinematic
territory, and the violence and pleasure of constructing “meaning” within this democratic space.

The title of the show takes its cue from Walter Benjamin’s text of the same name.1 Benjamin’s text
intermingles a series of disjointed narrative spaces, scenarios, theories and memories. Throughout the
text we experience the collapse between the monumental, ideological space of architecture and the
spectacle of cinema. Architecture is now temporal fleeting and unfixed from time; a set of cinematic
fictional encounters. Fleeting ‘cinematic’ images become dark spectral scenes that take on the
orthodox ideological power of architecture; they become monuments. This world of phantasmagoria
is now constituted by the force of subjectivities that construct and determine meaning. Within this
collapse of ideological parameters, the site for experiencing what we determine to be ‘reality’ is
constituted by violence, power and pleasure. Acknowledging and attributing this Benjaminian sphere
of experience in its selected artworks and in its curatorial frameworks, the exhibition asks in what
way does contemporary western culture live with, produce and experience constructed fictions as
empirical reality?

The artworks significantly attest to this experience of violence and pleasure. The works are
episodic, mythic and they capture the language and experience of determinacy through the temporality of
video - there’s no end in sight, and nowhere to turn either.

Amanda Beech’s “State Line”, 2007, filmed at the Cal Neva Lodge, Lake Tahoe, infamous for its
Mafioso and Kennedy family connections, embodies the violence of liberalist individualism, where
mobile subjectivities articulate the force and the site of law.

Pierre Bismuth’s “Respect the Dead”, 2001-2002, consists of feature films edited so that the film
sequences are cut immediately after the first death occurs on screen.

Jaspar Joseph-Lester’s "Spirit" 2007 focuses on a small housing community in Dornach,
Switzerland. In the video the relation between spaces of work, home and leisure are dominated by a
vernacular of auratic and pseudo-ritualistic architectural forms.

Mark Leckey’s “Made in 'Eaven”, 2004, shows the pristine surface of American artist Jeff Koons'
“Rabbit” sculpture, whose contours reflect a warped and inflated version of the artists’ flat.

Roman Vasseur’s "Black Propaganda at Melancholy Ranch", 2005, reports and dramatises a
remote event in a desert setting where a light plane breeches the uninhabited landscape and
bombards the terrain with leaflets simultaneously reporting and threatening a language bomb.