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Citadel News Service
2 May 2007

Gibbes Museum exhibit features Summerall Guards

Video artist Janet Biggs will be at the opening of her exhibition Like Tears in Rain on Friday, May 3 from 7-9 at the Gibbes Museum at 135 Meeting Street. The artist, who shot the footage of the guards last fall, will be available for informal discussions about her work. 

The museum is located at 135 Meeting Street. There is a $5 admission charge for this special event.

The exhibit will officially open on May 4 and run through August 12.

The video installation explores the role of free will in contemporary society. Installed in the Rotunda Gallery, large scale footage of the Citadel’s elite Summerall Guard drill team is paired with that of a champion equestrian who has been blind from early youth. Juxtaposed behind these images is a video of captive polar bears swimming repetitively in their small pool. The divergence of this imagery explores issues of control, power and obsession and introduces new relationships between aesthetics and strength, action and desire. 

THE INSTALLATION
·                    The Summerall Guards and their signature silent drill have never been a part of an art exhibition. The obsession and passion of the cadets is evident in Biggs’ footage as they move in synchronization from a high Prussian marching step to the fluid “death march.” The young cadets seemingly relinquish their individuality to become a part of the choreography of war.
·                    Fierce in her search for independence, blind horseback rider Anne-Greta orients herself by listening for verbal cues from strategically placed individuals who call out her location in the Dressage ring. For this video, the individuals calling out to Anne-Greta each speak a word or two from the film Blade Runner, constructing the sentence, “All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.”
·                    Two polar bears that have lived their entire lives in a contained environment swim a seemingly synchronized dance of endless repetition. Biggs regards this movement as the bears’ attempt to transcend their physical boundaries.
 
While at first glance one may be confused and unsettled by the intensity and divergence of the imagery in Like Tears in Rain, upon further contemplation the viewer recognizes the obsessive commitment involved in the choices we make and the frustration that is instinctive in all living creatures to have mastery over free will.
 
This exhibition is sponsored by Garden & Gun magazine.
 
JANET BIGGS
A trained equestrian and equestrian instructor, Biggs earned a BFA from the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and completed graduate work at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is formally trained in painting and sculpture and began exploring video and new media in the early 1990s. Biggs has exhibited at numerous institutions throughout the United States and abroad including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell Universityand the San Francisco Art Institute. She currently resides in New York City. 
 
SPECIAL PROGAM – AN EVENING OF VIDEO WITH JANET BIGGS
Friday, May 4 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Museum visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artist for an informal discussion about the exhibition followed by a viewing of works from other contemporary video artists in the Gibbes courtyard.  The evening is free for museum members and $5 for general admission.

 

The Gibbes Museum of Art is located at 135 Meeting Street. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. During Spoleto from May 25 - June 10, the museum will be open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and on Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

 
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