Killing Time MLKemper.jpg

27, 2012 – April 16, 2012
Mildred Land Kemper Art Museum, Garen Galley

Hungarian artist Balázs Kicsiny is renowned for his dynamic practice incorporating multiple media, including sculpture, film, performance, and painting. He is perhaps best known for his disquieting and sometimes absurdist large-scale installations, or “frozen performances,” which draw on the languages of theater, philosophy, and the visual arts. The socio-political circumstances of the Eastern Bloc during and after the Cold War, and the impact of experiencing modern culture through the filter of the Iron Curtain, also inform the work of this artist born three decades before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

During his two months as the 2011–12 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Visiting Artist at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts in spring 2011, Kicsiny co-taught a class that examined the performative aspects of contemporary art and engaged students in fabricating some of the elements that make up his installation Killing Time. Employing sound, video, and theatrical elements, the artist sets a fantastic scene populated by four life-size cast figures wearing video cameras mounted on military helmets. A chef grips menacing cutlery, as do two veiled diners, and a fourth figure dressed as a waitress is attached to a spinning disk. Each figure is frozen within a single moment in a simultaneously familiar yet strange tableau that seems poised to erupt in violence. As in all of Kicsiny’s work, this installation evokes a provocative dichotomy of motion and stillness, referencing themes of time and its relationship to space and history.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Art Endowment Fund, Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and members of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Balázs Kicsiny: Killing Time will be on view from January 27 through April 16, 2012 and is curated by Robert Gero.