October 27 – December 11, 2010

Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to present an exhibition of new
work by Los Angeles-based artist Bruce Yonemoto (b. 1949, San Jose,
CA). On view are a recent video projection and a series of photographs,
included in Yonemoto’s 2010 solo exhibition 
at the St. Louis Art
Museum.
bruce_yonemoto_3The video Before I Close My Eyes (2010) appropriates and re-casts a pivotal scene from Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film Persona,
reconfiguring its social and political framework. In Yonemoto’s scene,
the female protagonist is replaced by Asian men, who watch television
footage from a 1963 broadcast of a Buddhist monk practicing
self-immolation. The scene loops, moving image within moving image,
eliciting a mute response from the layers of viewers, as the highly
charged image of political protest loses its power through mediated
repetition.

Yonemoto’s use of appropriation continues in the photographic series Beyond South: Vietnam (Caravaggio)
(2010). Here the artist recreates masterpieces by the16th century
Baroque painter, Michelangelo Caravaggio. Each photograph re-imagines
an original Caravaggio portrait setting with the original figures
replaced by similarly posed Asian models. Further complicating the
Western gaze and ideals of patronage and politics, Yonemoto’s sitters
are clothed in South and North Vietnamese military uniforms, themselves
reproductions sold to contemporary tourists in Vietnam. Through
Hollywood devices of costume and set, the photographs muddy readings of
subject and gaze, Western art history and late 20th Century politics,
religion and representation, imperialism and tourism.

 

steven lam.jpeg

Also on view is a video sculpture, Exotica: Hashi de Mato Grosso
(1994). In 1994 the artist received a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest
Fellowship to live and work in Brazil to investigate coexisting
Brazilian and Japanese customs and culture. One of the resulting
artworks from that research, Exotica reclaims explorer Lt. Candido
Rondon’s mid-1950s film of a tribe from the Brazilian state of Mato
Grosso; this footage is projected onto a screen made of chopsticks
manufactured in the 1990s from wood from the Brazilian rainforest.
Yonemoto’s unlikely juxtaposition of Margaret Mead-era, anthropological
footage with a contemporary consumer product conflates ideas of
cultural import and export, globalization and migration.


karen finley