Shotgun Review

In Case You Missed It: Magic Mountain

By Aimee Le Duc September 20, 2011

What is the value of collaboration? When two artists work together on one project, should each individual’s vision be present, resulting in a dialogue? Or should the work bleed into one cohesive body in which neither artist’s presence is distinct? Piero Passacantando and Gareth Spor, who worked together on the exhibition The Magic Mountain, at NOMA Gallery, would certainly answer the latter.

The project is based on Passacantando’s research in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Thangka painting. Passacantando worked with professional Thangka painters to emulate their use of geometry and color in painting. For his part of the project, Spor created films that play on loud and clunky film reels, introducing movement into the paintings’ simple circles and patterns.

The work’s color palettes are dusty pinks and serene blues; only one of the video pieces, a collaborative work by both artists, uses brightly colored circles, which move at a glacial pace in a pattern resembling a Venn diagram. The result is so meditative and quiet that it transcends Thangka painting—the work’s source and inspiration are secondary.

The work becomes a respite from the cacophony of media and images that surround us at all times. The “Magic Mountain,” it seems, is a place inside where our individual voice and reactions can stop spinning and become momentarily lost in the simplicity of a circle and the nostalgic clacking of a film projector.

Piero Passacantando, Infinity Circle, NOMA Gallery

Piero Passacantando. Infinity Circle, 2010; acrylic on muslin; 38 x 30 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Noma Gallery, San Francisco.



Magic Mountain: Piero Passacantando and Gareth Spor was on view at Noma Gallery, in San Francisco, from August 6 to September 10, 2011.

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