janet biggs

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janet Biggs

04 through 27 October 2001

Team will present a solo exhibition by installation artist Janet Biggs from the 4th through the 27th of October 2001. The gallery is located at 527 West 26th Street, cross streets Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, on the ground floor.

Janet Biggs is known for a body of work centering on the image of the horse. Her multiple-channel installations, condensed yet epic, have garnered her a strong critical reputation and numerous museum exhibitions, as well as a position that places her work in the lineage of post-feminist discourse. Works such as Girls and Horses, a monumental installation work from 1995, Water Training (1997), and BuSpar (1999) mated projections of thundering horses with little girls, synchronized swimmers, and Biggs' autistic aunt, respectively. The power of these pieces came from the juxtaposition of images that simultaneously represented suffocation and release, control and chaos. This frisson of emotions continues in her latest works.

The exhibition here at Team is made up of two recent three-channel projections, Haldol and Risperidone. Over the past few years, Biggs has turned her attention from the impact of fantasy and sublimation on psychosexual formation, and toward the growing number of psychic states that are treated with medication. The focus of Biggs' most recent work is the creation of installation pieces that trigger in the viewer a state that mimics that which the specific drug is meant to relieve.

Haldol is an anti-psychotic drug marketed as a cure for the quick uncontrollable movements of Tourette's Syndrome. The alternating images are those of a young basketball player moving towards the viewer, a horse violently chomping at the camera itself, and a thunderous set of waterfalls. This repeated cycle of focused energy, harsh eruption, and loss of control signifies the collapse of focus and power, and a subsequent fall into a crisis of identity.

Image from Janet Biggs' Video Installation Haldol

The front gallery space contains three separate projections, each of which alternates between two different images. The space is reconfigured in such a way as to deny the viewer simultaneous access to all of the "screens." Projected onto all of these screens, each located within a partly contained space, are young athletes deeply involved in displays of mastery. The insert images of nature serve as a kind of symbolic blot that wipes out and undermines the control of the athletes, serving to remind us of what lurks beyond surface appearance; the primitive urges controlled by civilizing forces. Risperidone, the drug from which this piece takes its title, is an anti-psychotic meant to curb aggressive behavior and self-abuse. In effect, these types of medications are prescribed to release individuals from private prisons. They attempt to free patients from psychic states that deter cognitive and emotional well being.

Ms. Biggs' works have been shown at numerous museums and public institutions throughout the United States and in Europe. Support for this exhibition was provided by the Wexner Center Media Arts Program, The Ohio State University, Ohio. As part of its growing support of the arts and new media artists, Panasonic was chosen by Biggs to provide the state-of-the-art video equipment used to display her work.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs, please call the gallery at 212.279.9219.

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