Continuing through March 1, 2013
For "Self," Rodrigo Valenzuela turns his camera on collaborator Anthony Sonnenberg to produce four videos tackling the complexity of internal identity and external projections of persona. Sonnenberg as subject embodies nuances of loneliness and Sisyphean struggle as he is recorded completing equally mundane and surreal tasks related to movement through the world.
In the video from which the exhibition draws its title, Sonnenberg walks backwards, falteringly, through a forest path, eyes locked on an oversize rearview mirror strapped to his head. Forced to rely on the information reflected in the mirror to proceed, the concentrated effort to avoid slipping on rocks in a creek bed makes for high tension in the midst of a serene landscape.
In another, Valenzuela's camera is focused on the slight gestures of Sonnenberg seated alone in a cramped but softly-sunlit apartment, haltingly slipping his feet into a pair of shoes as he gets dressed to go out. The austerity of gesture in the video matches the spare tone of the gallery installation, and as always, Valenzuela's filmic style, heavily influenced by cinéma vérité and experimental documentary filmmaking, impresses with technical precision and an eye for detail in physical gesture and environment.