Drawings & Videos by James Fotopoulos
January 7 to February 6, 2012
Opening Reception Saturday January 7, 6-9PM
Microscope Gallery kicks off the New Year with Dreamful Slumbers, the first New York solo exhibition of the filmmaker and artist James Fotopoulos, featuring over 80 charcoal drawings made between 2008 to 2011 and new video works. The title relates to a line in William Blake’s creation myth The Book of Urizen (1794) and the exhibit marks Fotopoulos’ serious return to drawing, a practice he began in his youth.
Fotopoulos, who was featured at the Whitney Biennial and at MoMA in the mid-2000s, made the works in Dreamful Slumbers during a period “fueled by a disinterest in many modes of current art production I found myself either tangled in or standing too close too = like standing too close to a fire.” This was a time of intense artistic introspection during which Fotopoulos felt “…that if I couldn’t succeed in harnessing these images and emotions using those methods (turning my back on all the current technology which I had been absorbed in), then I should stop making work.” That Fotopoulos had by already made over 100 films and videos ranging from features to under 30 seconds only emphasizes the gravity of this statement.
Dreamful Slumbers traces the development of Fotopoulos’ current works in (primarily) charcoal – which contain imagery of animals, bodies, personal symbols from youth, and letters and words as a personal codes of memories and dreams – starting with simple black & white images, to a longer period of experimentation with reds, to a sudden focus on blue. Additionally, drawings made for several recent moving images work, including the short Thick Comb and the features Chimera and Alice in Wonderland, which premiered at Microscope last May, are also presented and offer a comment on the relationship between art made by a filmmaker to the “art” made for a film.
A new short video on installation, Wellness, made with drawings and Fotopoulos’ unique animation techniques brings to the forefront the discussion and connection between drawing and making moving images, a subject that has interested Fotopoulos since as early as 2005 when he was quoted in the New York Times as saying “With digital, I can work like I draw – it’s that free.” With a series of his just completed works titled “Blue”, Fotopoulos has completely and successfully bound the two, making a work in two parts: a drawing and a 15 to 20 second video.
This exhibition follows screenings of new and recent videos by Fotopoulos including the features “Chimera” and “Alice in Wonderland” at Anthology Film Archives (NYC) on January 5 and 6th. Full schedule at www.anthologyfilmarchives.org
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James Fotopoulos was born in Chicago and currently lives and works in Philadelphia. His films and videos have been screened internationally including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the New York Underground Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Walker Art Center and the Andy Warhol Museum, among others. His works have also been featured in a retrospective at Anthology Film Archives, 2004 Whitney Biennial, and at Museum of Modern Art (NY).
His works have exhibited at: Momenta Art; Museo de Arte Contemportaneo del Zulia, Venezuela; Parsons Hall Project Space, Holyoke, MA; Triskel Art Center, Cork, Ireland; Bienniale for Videoart, Mechelen, Belgium; Vertex List NYC; Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Microscope Gallery, NYC among others. He has received a Creative Capital Grant for his in-progress interdisciplinary epic on the life of Richard Nixon. He has collaborated with Raymond Pettibon, Barney Rosset, Cory Arcangel, Torsten Zenas Burns, Ben Coonley, and many others.