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Desirée Holman: Heterotopias / MATRIX 238 (June 26–September 18, 2011)
Desirée Holman’s second solo museum exhibition, a multimedia installation that includes video and drawings, explores virtual and live-action role-play
Berkeley, CA, June 1, 2011—(Download a PDF version of this press release.) The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents Desirée Holman: Heterotopias / MATRIX 238, the artist’s second solo museum show. Holman’s installation features a new video that combines live action and 3-D digital animation, paired with a series of sixteen drawings that visualize the process of gamers embodying their avatars. The exhibition connects with two other recent Holman projects—The Magic Window (2007), an ecstatic mash-up of iconic TV sitcoms, and Reborn (2009), which takes inspiration from “reborner” culture, wherein women adopt toy dolls as their true children—to form a trilogy that interrogates the human tendency to engage in fictional narratives.
For Heterotopias, each of the nine participants developed a fantasy character that Holman realized through physical costumes and drawings but also digitally with fully rendered 3-D models. The characters that Holman’s performers invented conflate popular archetypes found in media culture and in fantasy role-playing games as an expression of individual desire. Cutting across physical and cultural divisions, the characters sometimes reveal internal truths rarely projected in everyday reality, but these fantastical constructions betray the vulnerabilities of the real selves that they supplant.
In the video, role-play transcends real and virtual realms, slipping fluidly among the critical and participatory frameworks of avatar, engineer, and live performer. A series of drawings serve as conceptual pauses within the installation, anachronistically handcrafted “stills” that frame the metadiscourse of the virtual apparatus alongside the more ecstatically experiential video.
Holman lives and works in Oakland, California. She received her M.F.A. from UC Berkeley. She has exhibited her work internationally, including at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, Brazil; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Machine Project, Los Angeles; The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York; and BnD Studios in Milan. In 2007 she was honored with SFMOMA’s biannual SECA Award and was also a resident at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She recently released her first self-titled catalog. Her work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including BAM/PFA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Hammer Museum.
Desirée Holman: Heterotopias / MATRIX 238 is curated by Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator Elizabeth Thomas.
Artist’s Talk: Desirée Holman
Sunday, June 26, 3 p.m.
Admission is free
For more information about the exhibition and special programs visit: http://bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/238
The MATRIX Program at BAM/PFA is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.
The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading research universities. BAM/PFA aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. One of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, BAM/PFA presents fifteen art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum’s collection of more than 15,000 works, distinguished by artistic excellence and innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary, includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
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