Art News

"Marco Brambilla: The Dark Lining" at the Santa Monica Museum of Art

artwork: Marco Brambilla -  "Sync", video still, 2005 - Three-channel video, Color, sound, 01:43 min. loop. Collection Metronom, Barcelona. On view at The Santa Monica Museum of Art in the "Dark lining" exhibition.

Santa Monica, CA.- On Friday, December 3, 2010 the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) was proud be a part of the unveiling of the world’s first-ever 3D art video by Marco Brambilla, “Evolution (Megaplex)”. Now the museum welcomes him back for his first ever solo museum exhibition. Seven major time-based works from 1999 to the present go on show on May 21st, with the exhibition running until August 20th. “The Dark Lining”, consists of complex video installations. Much of his work comprises found film footage edited, layered, and spliced to create compelling new narratives and stunning visual mosaics. With exquisite technical production and seamless editing, Brambilla’s multi-layered tableaux of interconnecting images and looped video blend into an expansive landscape that forms his hallmark style.

The exhibition at SMMoA will feature the premier of Evolution (Megaplex), 2010, a new large-scale 3D video collage, which displays the history of humankind through the lens of cinema. In this never before seen work, Brambilla combines hundreds of clips from genre films that re-enact historical moments as grand spectacle. This cacophony of images is looped and mapped into an infinite three-dimensional environment that scrolls horizontally across time. Evolution emphasizes conflicts through the ages, in a remix that seamlessly moves through past, present, and future, providing a satirical take on the bombast of the big-budget “epic.”

artwork: Marco Brambilla - "Sea of Tranquility", 2006 - Single-channel video, Color & sound, 3:00 min. - Courtesy the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica.

In a poignant work from 2002 titled “HalfLife”, Brambilla juxtaposes surveillance footage of gamers playing the then-popular video game Counter-Strike with live-feed footage of the game they are playing. By placing the young men in the “cross-hairs” point-of-view while simultaneously capturing their virtual actions inside the game-world, Brambilla highlights the physical displacement and the psychological dislocation inherent in entering the digital world. “Cathedral”, 2008, in which Brambilla filmed Christmas shoppers in a Canadian mall, exposes raw footage in a long and slow sequence of kaleidoscopic patterning.  The superimposed and multi-layered images transform the mall into a hallucinatory space.  Installed in a mirrored box, the video is brought into three dimensions further multiplying the images. Though it resembles an animated stained glass window, the work depicts commerce and conspicuous consumption, and the conflation of a “shoppers’ paradise” with a literal place of worship. Brambilla’s “Civilization (Megaplex)”, 2008, is dense with imagery and depicts heaven, hell, and in-between, in an epic, almost Dante-esque style, set to an excerpt from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

His first ‘video mural’ integrates clips into an expansive landscape that continuously scrolls downward, starting with the fires of hell, progressing through to celestial reward. Other works in the exhibition include “Cyclorama”, 1999, “Wall of Death”, 2001, “Sync”, 2005 and “Sea of Tranquility”, 2006. The ambitious installation design of The Dark Lining will mirror Brambilla’s complex visual arrangements where the viewer is led, almost transported, from singular, theater-like stations to open spaces where multiple works present themselves in layered concert with one another.  The exhibition at SMMoA is unique from previous installations as this will present multiple significant works from the last decade and illustrate Brambilla’s artistic range and evolution.  The exhibition itself, therefore, will function as an artwork—one that is revealed with the audience’s choreographed movement through a well-orchestrated and articulated space.

artwork: Marco Brambilla - "Evolution (Megaplex)", 2010 (work in progress) - Single-channel video, Color, sound, Length TBD. Private Collection. - Courtesy The Santa Monica Museum of Art

Marco Brambilla studied film at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, and then worked in commercials and feature films, directing the successful 1993 science fiction film Demolition Man.  In 1998, he shifted his focus to video and photography projects as an artist and filmmaker.  His work has been exhibited internationally at such institutions as the Kunsthalle Bern, screened at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, and can be found in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the ARCO Foundation in Madrid, amongst others. Brambilla has been awarded both the Tiffany Comfort Foundation and Colbert Foundation awards for his video installations. He was born in Milan, Italy, and currently lives and works in New York and Los Angeles.

Through its exhibitions, education, and outreach programs, the Santa Monica Museum of Art fosters diversity, innovation, and discovery in contemporary art on the local, national, and international stages. The Santa Monica Museum of Art was founded in 1984 by Abby Sher. Museum programming began when Thomas Rhoads took over as Executive Director in 1988. A decade later, SMMoA moved from its original location on Main Street to Bergamot Station, Southern California’s largest art gallery and cultural complex. SMMoA devotes its exhibition spaces (the main gallery and two project rooms) to presenting and advancing the work of contemporary local, national, and international artists whose work merits sustained inquiry and recognition. Unique to the Westside of Los Angeles, Santa Monica Museum of Art is a risk-taking, noncollecting museum, whose exhibitions and programs reveal the vibrant, untold stories and pivotal moments in the history of contemporary art and culture. SMMoA supports the art of our time through exhibitions and related programs that embrace diverse aesthetic, cultural, and ideological perspectives. Our exhibitions and programs present innovative work by emerging and established artists; initiate and maintain artistic partnerships and collaborations; connect the visual arts to other systems of information and knowledge; and provide an opportunity for audiences to experience, understand, and enjoy contemporary visual culture. Visit the museum’s website at …