Adam Cvijanovic Exhibition


poster for Adam Cvijanovic Exhibition

This event has ended.

Working in his favored medium of Flashe and latex paint on Tyvek, Adam Cvijanovic will transform the main gallery into a stage set, surrounding viewers with theater flats depicting his interpretation of
a scene from D.W. Griffith’s epic film, Intolerance, in which tens of thousands of Babylonians are overcome with the realization that they are about to be invaded by the Persians. Painted in a purple grisaille evocative of silent film, this gigantic painting installation explores themes of aspiration, ruin, cultural evolution, and the folly of creative hubris.

Cvijanovic’s inspiration for this exhibition is based upon the dramatic rise and fall of a cinematic pioneer. Fresh from the controversial success of The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith invested all of his wealth into a massive four-part narrative film called Intolerance. It was by far the most expensive cinematic undertaking of its time, due largely to the enormous, lavish set for its scenes
of ancient Babylon. The film proved too challenging for audiences of the early 20th century and as a result Griffith succumbed to financial ruin, and the set of Babylon faced a similar fate, condemned to loom over downtown Hollywood for over a decade.

In this exhibition Cvijanovic conflates Griffith’s experience as a filmmaker and visionary with Los Angeles’s slow, entropic transformation from an untamed land full of promise to a city whose
identity is defined by an increasingly commercial entertainment industry. In addition to the main painting installation the exhibition will contain two other components – a triptych painting of the rural, wild landscape of Hollywood as it was nearly a century ago, with Griffith’s set dominating the background, and a room of storyboard-style paintings on Mylar depicting everything from
scenes from Intolerance to the gas stations and parking lots of contemporary Los Angeles. The overall effect is of a collapse in time, in which the dramatic deterioration of Griffith’s vision is
aligned with the less spectacular, but more profound, societal transformation of Hollywood.

Cvijanovic’s decision to create a work of this scale and content – a contemporary historical painting based upon a film whose imagery was itself derived from the history of painting – comes at an important moment in the discourse of art and politics. The theme of hubris that pervades this exhibition applies to a range of eras and subjects, from the artist’s struggle with his own ambitions and creative ego, to the present-day conflict in Iraq – the modern-day Babylon.
Cvijanovic does not propose a reconciled solution to this issue, opting instead to meditate upon the complex emotional and political implications of our choices as people and as nations.



from May 29, 2008 to July 03, 2008


Adam Cvijanovic

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