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A worry-free life or your money back

Tuesday, April 27, 2004–Saturday, June 12, 2004

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In her first multi-piece one-person exhibition at Gallery 400, A worry-free life or your money back, Jenny Perlin exhibits four recent 16mm silent films, a three-channel video projection, and several series of drawings. Three of the films, Rorscach, Schumann, and The United States in a Chaotic World are animated from hand-drawn images appropriated from psychological evaluation tests, store receipts, maps, music scores, fortune cookie texts, gardening diagrams, and the like. The psychological self-help histories, Taylorist strategies for labor efficiency, and histories of U.S. territorial expansion included in the films thread together individual psychology and social, political, and historical meaning and place each squarely within the other. The fourth film, Washing, pictures the 2002 lower Manhattan skyline through a window in Brooklyn. In a short loop, the window is continuously wiped and washed by a single hand. That the gesture repeats over and over poignantly evokes the loss marked on the city ’s landscape and skyline, which was also a collective trauma endured by a society. Drawing connections between disparate areas of contemporary modern life to challenge the compartmentalization of consciousness, Perlin ’s hand-drawn black and white films disarm with their beauty while quietly demonstrating the complexity of the socio-political moment and making a case for questioning the status quo. Three series of drawings from which the films were animated are also included in the exhibition.

A worry-free life or your money back also premieres Perlin ’s new three-channel video projection Sight Reading. In a Structuralist vein, Sight Reading depicts three professional pianists attempting to perform a piece of music they have never seen before. Each pianist is shown in a separate projection, and each starts the piece at the same time. They then continue playing at their natural speed. The work, Robert Schumann ’s Piano Concerto in A minor, is challenging, and the pianists make mistakes. After a mistake, the pianist ’s screen goes dark for five seconds, and their music stops, while the other pianists continue uninterrupted. Then the projection resumes, and the pianist continues playing. The more challenging the piece becomes, the more mistakes the players make, and the more the three projections turn off. In this piece, the editing itself becomes the taskmaster, the act of cutting determines a player ’s presence as performer. A screening of other Perlin films also accompanies the exhibition.

Related:

PRINT COLLATERAL

Postcard: A worry-free life or your money back

MEDIA COVERAGE

Faulkner, Tamara. “Jenny Perlin.” Chicago Reader, Jun. 4, 2004.

Yood, James. “Jenny Perlin.” Artforum, Sep. 2004.

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

A worry-free life or your money back is supported by College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Jenny Perlin

From Review, 2004
Pencil on paper, 48 x 24 in.

Rorschach, 2002
16 mm silent black & white film, 7:25 min.

From Rorschach, 2002
Charcoal on paper, 48 x 24 in.

Schumann, 2002
16mm silent black & white film, 7:10 min.

Sight Reading, 2004
Three-channel color DVD installation, 7:00 min.

Skyline I–IV, 2002
Graphite and ink on paper, 13 1/4 x 11 in. each

The Power of a Country Road…, 2002
Ink on paper, 13 1/4 x 11 in.

The United States in a Chaotic World, 2003
16mm silent color film, 2:40 min.

From The United States in a Chaotic World, 2003
Pencil on paper, 75 x 24 in.

Washing, 2002
16mm black and white film, 0:10 min. loop

PRESS RELEASE

Jenny Perlin
A worry-free life or your money back

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
April 30–June 12, 2004

Opening Reception: Friday, April 30, 2004, 5-8 pm
Film Screening: Sunday, May 2, 2004, 1 pm

In her first multi-piece one-person exhibition, Jenny Perlin exhibits four recent 16mm silent films, a three-channel video projection and several series of drawings. Three of the films, Rorscach, Schumann, and The United States in a Chaotic World, are animated from hand-drawn images appropriated from psychological evaluation tests, store receipts, maps, music scores, fortune cookie texts, gardening diagrams, and the like. The psychological self-help histories, Taylorist strategies for labor efficiency, and histories of U.S. territorial expansion in the films thread together individual psychology and social, political, and historical meaning, placing each squarely within the other. The fourth film, Washing, pictures the 2002 lower Manhattan skyline through a window in Brooklyn. In a short loop, the window is continuously wiped and washed by a single hand. That the gesture repeats over and over poignantly evokes the loss marked on the landscape/skyline, which is also a collective trauma endured by a society. Drawing connections between disparate areas of contemporary modern life to challenge the compartmentalization of consciousness, Perlin ’s hand-drawn black and white films disarm with their beauty while quietly demonstrating the complexity of our current socio-political moment and making a case for questioning the status quo. Three series of drawings from which the films are animated are also on exhibit.

A worry-free life or your money back will additionally premiere Perlin ’s new three-channel video projection Sight Reading. In a structuralist vein, Sight Reading depicts three professional pianists attempting to perform a piece of music they have never seen before. Each pianist is shown in a separate projection, and each starts the piece at the same time. They then continue playing at their natural speed. The work, Robert Schumann ’s Piano Concerto in A minor, is challenging, and the pianists make mistakes. After a mistake, the pianist ’s screen goes dark for five seconds, and their music stops, while the other pianists continue uninterrupted. Then the projection resumes, and the pianist continues playing. The more challenging the piece becomes, the more mistakes the players make, and the more the three projections turn off. In this piece, the editing itself becomes the taskmaster, the act of cutting determines a player ’s presence as performer. A screening of other Perlin films will take place Sunday, May 2 at 1 pm.

Jenny Perlin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is an MFA graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition, Perlin completed the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is currently affiliated with Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam. She has screened her works at numerous international film festivals. She has also shown in numerous international museums and galleries including De Appel, Amsterdam; The Approach Gallery, London; KunstWerke, Berlin; Gallery Liquidacion Total, Madrid; and Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. She was featured in Statements in the 2002 Art Basel Miami Beach art fair. In 2002, she received a Finishing Funds Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and was awarded a Humboldt International Film Festival Prize. Perlin was awarded the Marvin Felheim Special Jury Prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2004.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Jenny Perlin Head ShotJenny Perlin is represented by Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Galerie M+R Fricke, Berlin. She has screened her works at numerous international film festivals and galleries including De Appel, Amsterdam; The Approach Gallery, London; KunstWerke, Berlin; Gallery Liquidacion Total, Madrid; Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Rotterdam International Film Festival; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Shedhalle, Zurich and Los Angeles Film Forum. She was featured in Statements in the 2002 Art Basel-Miami Beach art fair. In 2002, she received a Finishing Funds Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and was awarded a Humboldt International Film Festival Prize. Perlin was awarded the Marvin Felheim Special Jury Prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2004. Perlin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BA in Literature and Society from Brown University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition, Perlin completed the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art.