Michael Zansky "The Western Lands"

Nicholas Robinson Gallery

poster for Michael Zansky "The Western Lands"

This event has ended.

The title of this exhibition, The Western Lands, refers to the western banks of the Nile, which in the determinist belief system of ancient Egyptian religion is the netherworld, The Land of the Dead. It is also the title of a 1987 William Burroughs novel that explores the theme of death
through a fantastic narrative, referencing Egyptian mythology, science fiction, occultism, hallucinogenic drugs, magic, dreams, vampires, and figures from popular culture.

The bizarre confluence of characters and the utter strangeness of the novel are echoed in Zansky’s installations and photographs. Burroughs’ book and this exhibition are both counterpoints to the eternal and unchanging cosmos of the ancient Egyptian worldview. Zansky’s visual universe is as uncertain and weird as the literary one Burroughs inhabits.

In the three-dimensional work, characters in a constant state of flux interact on a mechanical rotating
stage as their images are projected by means of large optical lenses onto hand-painted backdrops. The strange protagonists, drawn from history, art, science, and popular culture, are “meant to cast a light of absurdity on the predicaments of life and the futility of the human endeavor to understand a universe that is unpredictable and unknowable.” Objects, both found and fabricated, slowly spin through space where they are magnified, miniaturized, or otherwise distorted by freestanding lenses. The illusion however, is intentionally imperfect. The viewer, like Dorothy, can easily peek behind the Wizard’s curtain to discover the apparatus that lies behind it.



from September 11, 2008 to October 18, 2008


Michael Zansky

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