Charles Ginnever: Rashomon

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Nov. 17, 2012 — Feb. 16, 2013
Main Gallery

This exhibition is generously supported in part by a grant from the Applied Materials Foundation.

Download Exhibition Guide (PDF)

"The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art gives us a rare, close look at one of the most significant and little-celebrated innovations in late 20th century art." Kenneth Baker, SF Chronicle art critic. Read Baker's review of Rashomon here.

The California premiere of the artist’s landmark 15-piece sculpture installation

For more than 50 years, Charles Ginnever has created large-scale steel sculptures that challenge and expand our visual perceptions. Every angle of a Ginnever sculpture presents us with a different work of art; as the viewer moves around the sculpture, the piece is transformed, evolving at a different pace and in a different way. At first, his pieces seem to be the work of a master illusionist, but one soon realizes that the sculpture is not about illusion but rather about questioning traditional ideas about perspective. According to Ginnever, “My work sits motionless and is only activated by the viewer moving around it – only then does it start to perform.”

The best illustration of this phenomenon is Rashomon, a 15-piece installation of three-foot high steel sculptures that sit directly on the floor. Arranged in rows, these maquettes fill the entire main gallery at the ICA. The complete work, which has never been presented in California, is a model for the Rashomon Series, 15 13-foot high sculptures, of which only three have been fabricated to date.

The title, Rashomon is borrowed from Akira Kurasawa’s 1950 Japanese film of the same name, which presents widely different accounts of four witnesses to the same crime. Reflective of the film’s plot, Ginnever’s installation consists of identical units, each capable of assuming 15 distinctly separate positions. Even with the knowledge that all of these objects are identical, it is unexpectedly difficult to recognize each sculpture as the same form.

Also on view are maquettes and works on paper including an exquisite sculptural print titled Multus – a recent innovative work that when folded transforms into a lightweight portable sculpture. In describing the experience of interacting with this work, poet and critic John Yau writes, "The tension between the flat plane and the folded form asks us to pay attention to the everyday world we live in, and to recognize that in the simplest things—a flat sheet paper – there exists a possibility simultaneously enchanting and revealing.” Multus is being editioned at noted Landfall Press in Santa FE, NM.

In addition, a large-scale sculpture titled Slant Rhyme is installed in the newly renovated Parque de Los Poblodores urban plaza directly across the street from the gallery. The installation of Slant Rhyme is made possible thanks to the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation in Healdsburg, CA. Slant Rhyme will be on view  through February 2013.





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