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Rodney Graham, "City Self" (2001)

Rodney Graham

City Self (2001)

The Canadian artist Rodney Graham is known for his conceptual crossovers: With superior ease, he combines photography, video, film, book production, sculpture and music without setting aside the characteristics of every single medium. His works refer to modern times as well as to pop, literature, philosophy or Hitchcock movies and were shown at exhibitions like “Sculpture. Projects in Münster 1987”, the “documenta IX” or the Venice Biennale in 1997. His video projection “City Self / Country Self” (2000) is part of a trilogy, together with his work “Vexation Island” (1997) and the video “Rambling Man” (1999). As a psychosocial farce, it deals with the confrontation of two different characters in a stylized Paris of the 1960s. “City Self” appears as an arrogant and well off dandy who meets his “Country Self”, his rural doppelgänger. The figures are played by actors but Graham is present on a symbolic level: Both characters wear the same mask with Graham’s own facial features. The psychological dimension of the unequal doppelgängers is expanded by a social comment. Just when Graham’s “Country Self” loses its cylinder and bends down the true hour of “City Self” has come. With his polished pointed shoe he kicks him up the backside with contemptuous verve. A gesture of snobbish disdain, but – in view of its stylistic exaggeration – in the realm of bizarreness.

For “Texte zur Kunst” Graham made a photo print of this video which shows the figure of “City Self”. The bottom-up perspective, the precise fit of the clothes, his straight face and the fixed stare emphasize the certainty that this “self-portrait” is about a shrewd presentation which does not only double-cross artist identities. The colour photo print with the title "City Self” is 50 x 40 cm and is numbered and signed on the back. It is an edition of 100 + 10 APs and costs 245,- EUR plus shipping.