Group show Infinite Jest at DCA
- Neil Cooper
- 18 July 2012
Cinthia Marcelle, Rob Pruitt and William Mackrell explore notion of infinity
With a title taken from David Foster Wallace’s footnote-friendly novel, going round in circles is the standout characteristic of all three artists in DCA’s summer special of a show. Where the videos of Brazilian interventionist Cinthia Marcelle subvert noisy cityscapes with meticulously orchestrated real-time arrangements, Rob Pruitt is all high-class paddling pools, monster-sized cookies and down-time denim. London-born William Mackrell continues the party theme with birthday cake-sized illuminations that may burn fast, but which leave a lunar-etched afterglow to bask in.
There’s fire from the off via Marcelle’s video piece ‘Confronto’ setting out its stall on a monitor that wilfully obstructs the gallery entrance. Onscreen, a group of fire jugglers stop the traffic, increasing in number as their routine moves from red-light entertainment to green-light environmental alchemy. Marcelle’s ‘Volta ae Mondo’ (‘Round the World’) goes even further, as increasing numbers of white vans circumnavigate a roundabout ad nauseum. Such an elaborately choreographed urban merry-go-round resembles the staging of a heist – the Brazilian Job, if you will.
Mackrell, too, explores the performative, the playful and the political, from ‘90 Minutes’, in which a concrete football sits at the centre of the gallery waiting for kick-off, to the glorious ‘1000 Candles’, in which 1000 tea candles are captured as a photograph, on film and, health-and-safety permitting, from flame-on mode to last-gasp flickers. Onscreen especially, the effect is of some orbiting planet moving from dawn to dusk.
If Pruitt’s ‘Evian Fountain’ is a very expensive splash-about, his oversized and indisputably toothsome biscuits in ‘Pop-Pop’s Chocolate-Chip Cookies’ suggests Roald Dahl reconfiguring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Lilliput. Pruitt’s two takes on ‘Esprit de Corps’, meanwhile, fills classic blue jeans with concrete and cotton, then sews them together in a body-melding mirror-image which, as with Marcelle and Mackrell’s work, contorts reality enough to drive it round the bend.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sun 26 Aug