Miljohn Ruperto: Geomancies
Miljohn Ruperto: Geomancies
FINAL Performance schedule: March 10; 7:30pm at REDCAT gallery
The cross-disciplinary work of Los Angeles-based, Philippine artist Miljohn Ruperto includes photography, cinema, performance and digital animation. His work refers to historical and anecdotal occurrences, and speculates on the nature of assumed facts and construction of truth. He creates illusory images and disconcerting effects that challenge the viewer’s perception.
Geomancies consists of a film, a series of photographic and video works, as well as a new performance piece. Ruperto works with the concepts of possession, opposition and metamorphosis as common themes and as a background for the exhibition´s narrative. The work investigates the constant battle waged by humans to control nature. Modifications of the landscape and the economic exploitation of nature are counteracted by its unexpected force and how it affects the course of history.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, Ordinal (SW/NE), 2017, is an experimental documentary created with filmmaker Rini Yun Keagy. The film traces the cultural and environmental influences of a soil-dwelling, pathogenic fungus, Coccidioides immitis, and its associated disease, valley fever, in California's Central Valley. Interweaving past, present and mythological time, the film draws upon historical and cultural references, including the plight of migrants during the Depression, the spread of the disease in recent years, contemporary theories of climate change, and the significance of the desert wind in ancient Assyria. In Ruperto and Keagy’s film, natural phenomena remain neutral, fleeing from any kind of judgment and avoiding binary oppositions of positive and negative, destruction and regeneration, life and death.
Driving South at Sunset. The Camera Faces East (2007) is a short video of a woman driving south on Interstate Highway 5 toward San Diego. She stares into the distance, intermittently singing a country song about heartache. The camera faces east, blocking the sunset. The rigid axis of the camera and the horizon with the North to South direction of the vehicle's movement is broken up by the woman's oblique focus, weaving in and out of song.
The exhibition also features Re-animating "Valley Turbulence" by Sam Chase (2016). For this piece, Ruperto animated the photograph taken by Chase, who was then an employee of Chevron, to create a loop. The video illustrates the massive dust storm that buried the south of the San Joaquin Valley and caused severe damage to the area. Meteorological phenomena, the video suggests, cannot be managed, controlled or captured by human technology.
In line with these film and photographic works, Ruperto presents a new performance, in which the empty space itself is an essential part of the atmospheric construction of the exhibition. Possession (2017) makes direct reference to the cult film Possession (1981) by Andrzej Żuławski, and the memorable scene of actress Isabel Adjani suffering a convulsive seizure in the subway station. In Ruperto’s piece, two actors re-enact Adjani’s performance in synchronous mirror symmetry. The actress’ hysterical scene is meticulously mapped out in an attempt to outline the perimeter of her subjectivity.
This exhibition is accompanied by a public program and regular performances in the gallery.
About the artist:
Miljohn Ruperto (b. 1971 Manila, the Philippines) received his M.F.A. from Yale University in 2002 and his B.A., Studio Art from University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Recent exhibitions featuring his work include: Nervous Systems, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Afterwork, Para-Site, Hong Kong; The As-if Principle., Magazin4 Bregenzer Kunstverein, Austria; 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Janus, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina Public Library, Saskatchewan, Canada; Ulrik Heltoft and Miljohn Ruperto, Voynich Botanical Studies, Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Made in L.A., The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and Picture Industry (Goodbye to All That), organized by Walead Beshty, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Ruperto lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Geomancies is organized by Ruth Estévez.
An earlier version of the project was presented in collaboration with Rini Yun Keagy at The Todd Madigan Art Gallery at California State University, Bakersfield.
Ordinal (SW/NE) is produced in part with support from Jerome Foundation Film, Video and Digital Production grant (Minnesota) 2016, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant 2016-17 and Carleton Arts and Technology curricular initiative grant (Carleton College) 2015.
This exhibition is funded in part by generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Special thanks to Eric Kim and John Morace. Additional support provided by REDCAT Circle.