Loss & Desire
How do contemporary artworks embody emotion? How do artists express longing, love, and human experience in their work? Art21 documentary Loss & Desire explores these questions through the work of Charles Atlas, Collier Schorr, Gabriel Orozco, and Janine Antoni.
Created by Charles Atlas, the opening for Loss & Desire begins with four-time Oscar-nominated actress Jane Alexander seated before a mirror in a glamorous dressing room, reflecting on the emotions that motivate some of the characters she has brought to life on stage and screen. Alexander introduces the artists featured in the hour and their personal yet universal works.
The art of Collier Schorr emphasises the importance of ambiguity, a flux of gender, religion, and nationality. Filmed taking pictures of a wrestling practice and match, Schorr captures the physical exhaustion and camaraderie of her subjects. Shifting to the subject of art history, Schorr’s images of her male model and friend, Jens, dramatise poses made by American painter Andrew Wyeth’s female model Helga. The segment ends in Germany where Schorr recreates a fictionalised military occupation of the landscape, bringing to the surface the personal histories buried and repressed by war.
Working without a specific studio, Gabriel Orozco feels that he is constantly confronted by reality. The segment follows Orozco as he creates situations with objects on the street and photographs them. Orozco’s interest in logic, systems, and physics is revealed in his series of games and in the dramatic “La D.S.”—a Citroën car split down the centre and reassembled to elongate its shape. Orozco uses everyday tools and objects, as notably seen in his recent series of handmade clay shapes and pots.
The third and final artist in the hour is Janine Antoni. Filmed weaving a rope out of materials donated by friends and relatives, Antoni refers to the rope as a lifeline. The artist is later shown walking a tightrope, preparing for the video “Touch” where she appears to walk on the blue ocean horizon of her childhood home in the Bahamas. Antoni’s use of unusual sculptural materials such as chocolate, soap, lard, and rawhide is explored as the artist takes the viewer on a tour of a major exhibition at SITE Santa Fe, hoping to reform lost connections between viewer and everyday objects.
Art21: Art in the 21st Century is an award-winning series of 24 programmes in which 100 contemporary artists explain their creations, their creative processes, and their perceptions of art. Available for the first time on DVD in the UK, Art21 covers a wide range of artists and contemporary visual art.