Film-loop Fable

Protest, tourism, politics, and labor tend to figure at the center of Romania-born, Paris-based artist Mircea Cantor's short films, but for work that hinges on the display and distribution of power, they are far from didactic. In fact, their biggest success is the artist's engrossing ambiguity and lyrical images. One of the strongest examples of his style is the 2005 work 'Deeparture.' Incongruously released inside a white-cube art gallery, a wolf quietly stalks a deer in the otherwise empty space. The work contains an overt reference to Joseph Beuys and possibly Douglas Gordon, but it is also shot from an angle that allows the dance-like movement of the animals to appear maximally anthropomorphic, setting in motion a sweatily tense allegory. The homage to 'I Love America and America Loves Me' is on view in the United States capital through December 9th, where it continuously screens in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's subterranean Black Box gallery. Cantor will give an artist talk and discuss the work on October 2nd, and on October 4th the museum will screen a series of his other films. The exhibition marks the beginning of a season with a film- and video-heavy schedule at the Hirshhorn that culminates in February with the first installment of a two-part exhibition titled 'The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image.' - William Hanley