In Eve Sussmans subtle and complex video work, broken story upon story are being layered on one another. A dazzling, accidental and performative piece, almost overloaded with beautiful images, which are not at all white.
A woman in a fur coat walks by a square, a landscape covered in snow, two men by a window playing chess, old house facades during night, a fountain in decay, clouds racing over the sky, lace curtains, garbage left by an isolated farm and a man wandering a hallway. These are just a few of the poetic and sensual images from Eve Sussman’s video piece White on White. A Random Thriller exhibited at Bo Bjerggaard Gallery along with photos by Simon Lee and the video pieces How to Tell the Future from the past and Parliament of Rocks.
The video White on White. A Random Thriller is shot in Kazakhstan, and the story takes place in a fictive place called A-city in 2016. The main character is a physicist working for a company, but he does not know, what his work is being used for.
As in a classical detective story he tries to find out. And it turns out, that the company he works for is actually involved in a crime by secretly cleansing lithium, which is very important to the citizens of A-City, out of water.
Cut up narration
But this is certainly not a classical science fiction/detective story with a hero, who fights an immoral and corrupt system. This is a complex work of art, where the narration is cut up, and the structure of the fragmented parts is being directed randomly by a generated code.
Thus, split image upon image, is being layered upon another, totally leaving it up to the viewer to figure out, what is going on. In this way, the artist not only depicts a sad vastness and a feeling of loss, but also discusses, how we create stories ourselves. How we try to make a narration, may be inspired by the fiction we know, out of chaos. White on White. A Random Thriller shows our perhaps human, but certainly cultural build in desire after a structure and meaning.
Hence the piece White on White is more implying than really explaining, and it seems almost overloaded with references and images to interpret, not a white on white piece at all ? leaving the viewer dazzled and certainly confused.
Kazimir Malevich’s White on white 1918
Eve Sussman’s video is clearly referring to the Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich’s piece White on white from 1918. With this oil he totally gave up on representation. His piece is simply a white canvas filled out with a white square & thus not trying to represent anything from the real world. An absolute abstraction so to speak.
But Kazimir Malevich’s piece is also a radical expression of the utopian ideas, which marked the Russian avant-garde. Kazimir Malevich felt that the Russian Revolution paved the way for a new society free of materialism, leading the way to spiritual freedom.
You could say Eve Sussman’s White on White. A Random Thriller does not translate Kazimir Malevich work, but she is instead making the original White on white into living pictures. Eve Sussman’s work is a performative piece by focusing on how the piece is being made, not on the final outcome.
In Eve Sussman’s, White on White. A Random Thriller the screen is filled with pictures moving all the desires, longings and dreams, the mistaken utopians, which the abstraction of the original piece implied.