Weekend: Robert Heinecken, Times New Viking, Onibaba

Robert Heinecken: Dream/Circles/Cycles opened at Rhona Hoffman Gallery this past Friday. The first gallery show since his death in 2006, this exhibition features work created between 1964-1973, much of which has never been exhibited before and includes seminal bodies of work such the series Are You Rea (1964-1968), a group of gelatin-silver contact prints from magazine pages. Every piece in the exhibition is a favorite, particularly Christmas Mistake – a 1972 black and white film transparency illuminated in a light box. Imagine a mix-up at the photo lab where negatives of a nude pin-up model were accidentally developed with family Christmas photos.

Christmas Mistake, 1972

On Saturday I attended the Society for Contemporary Art of the Art Institute of Chicago benefit and auction where I was taken by the works of Richard Hawkins, Nathan Hylden, Florian Morlat, a group of glittered collages by the TM Sisters, and a photograph by New Catalogue (collaborators Luke Batten and Jonathan Sadler) from their new series Tiger Afternoon (a Jean Luc-Godard version of a John Hughes film). I ducked out early to catch the $5 Warhammer 48k side project – Cave – and Times New Viking show at Mr. City press.

Dani Leventhal, a UIC MFA grad who now lives and works in Rosendale, NY was in Chicago this month showing several of her short video works at Gallery 400. I was only familiar with her sculptures and so I watched five videos by the artist on Sunday. The visuals were complex, personal, beautiful, darkly humorous, abrupt and abstract; an exploration of Jewish identity that is both subtle and raw.

I also saw Onibaba (The Demon), the 1964 black and white Japanese horror film directed by Kaneto Shindô followed by the silent Super 8 footage documenting the making of the film. The film itself is visually astounding. The lighting alternates constantly and without warning only making the oppressive heat and brutally dry landscape of swaying bamboo reeds so realistic that it was hard not to feel physically affected by the creepy plot. I look forward to seeing more films by the director including The Naked Island (1960).

Film still from Kaneto Shindô’s Onibaba