I’m back from a few sun-filled days spent looking at artists’ moving image at LOOP Barcelona. It was my first visit to LOOP and I imagine that it won’t be my last. From the 44 international galleries that participated this year, here are five works that I felt stood out from the gamut of experimental, animated, dance film, digital, multi-screen and documentary works on show.
1. Leviathan, Íñigo Manglano-Ovalle
Presented by Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica
As a single-screen installation accompanied with a loud, droning soundtrack the piece was totally immersive. The artist pans a camera across a crystalline surface, disrupted by occasional flashes of intense colour, transforming ordinary salt crystals into something magnificent. You can watch an excerpt here, but it doesn’t really do justice to the beauty of the work.
2. Manque de preuves (lack of evidence), Hayoun Kwon
Presented by Dohyang Lee Gallery, Paris
Refreshing to find an animated documentary at an art fair. The voiceover recounts the real life experiences of a Nigerian man forced to flee to France for refuge. The voiceover details the horrific murder of his twin brother in a ritual killing. Animation is used to great effect to recreate his memories as his incredible story unravels, contrasted with the very real documents of his case, the typed up testimony and his hand drawing of events, woven in to the narrative.
3. Sun City, Rob Carter
Presented by Galerie Stefan Röpke, Cologne
In Sun City found photographs of Benidorm from ancient times to modern day have been assembled to demonstrate its evolution as a city for sun worshippers. The layered cut-out technique successfully conveys the rapid expansion of the urban environment as tourism booms, leading to the fantastical conclusion of the city becoming a giant solar power station. The clip here is from a visitor to the show, so whilst poor in quality it gives a sense of the lovely movement Carter gives in animating the piece.
4. En Puntas, Javier Pérez
Presented by Galerie Guy Bärstchi, Geneva
A beautifully nightmarish film. A ballerina dances on the lid of a piano, wearing pointe shoes extended by sharp knives, in a grand yet empty auditorium. Like a tortured version of a ballerina spinning in a jewellery box her every move is masochistic, volatile and potentially injurious. Who is she dancing for? Why does she do it? A nice touch, the gallery also had the knife shoes on display in a box next to the film.
5. Staging Silence, Hans Op de Beeck
Presented by Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam
In Staging Silence the artist uses a variety of household objects to recreate a series of recognizable and typical locations in miniature. Within the work the process of making is integral, with disembodied hands visibly building, shaping and destroying each space. Memory of place is made to look both absurd and nostalgic in this piece. Great soundtrack too, courtesy of Scanner.
There were also a few excellent exhibitions at art institutions across the city. Most notably at CaixaForum the exhibition Georges Méliès: The Magic of Film (on till 24 June) – a wonderful survey of early cinema and the fantastical minds of pioneers such as Muybridge, the Lumière Brothers and Marey. Also, This is not a Love Song at La Virreina (on until 29 September), which looks at the inter-relationship between visual art and pop music since the 1960s, and features some vivid works by artists including Eric Seigel, Tony Oursler, Vito Acconci, Adel Abidin, Jeremy Deller, Andy Warhol and Candice Breitz.