Thuistezien 234 — 13.04.2021
In 2011, the American artist Reynold Reynolds presented his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands with the show ‘Six Pieces’ which took place at West Den Haag. In the show, Reynolds explored aspects of human existence through his experimental films and installations.
One of the works exhibited was Reynolds’ video piece ‘Six Apartments’ (2007). In this piece, the viewer’s position as an observer is immediately clear, as private and intimate moments of six individual people at home are exposed. To begin with, the clips of these people's lives are moving slowly but steadily vertically upwards in an elevator-like movement that allows the viewer to get a brief insight into moments of human life that would otherwise have been kept to themselves. As the position of the clips turns static they are coincidentally accompanied by some black and white shootings of living entities and edible objects fermenting. The clips are speeded up as to dramatize the fermentation which stands in contrast to the slow and seemingly inconsequential actions taking place in the lives of the six humans portrayed. As the short narratives of these lives progresses alongside the dramatically speeded up fermentation processes, however, the acts of eating, smoking, washing and vomiting become uncomfortably linked together. At times, it will be clear that these domestic lives and the speeded up processes of fermentation are directly linked together as observed with the TV-watching man’s fish tank or the elderly woman’s open freezer. The viewer is faced with the fact that the humans are going through the same process of fermentation through doing their daily normal activities: aging, eating and giving away bacteria. Transformation and fatality is inescapable which not only concerns the things we consume but also our own selves. Next to the visuals that persistently borders between the mundane and the disturbing, the viewer is uncomfortably confronted with voice overs of various researchers and experts describing the ecological crisis and human created global as well as the frank fragility of the human species.
Reynolds’ filmic language is strikingly poetic and engaging and he oftentimes has the capability to transform long and mundane moments into beautiful images that are hard to escape. He masters the capability to transform daily life routines into capturing moments that, in fact, addresses serious topics of human existence by combining philosophy, science, and art history. It is clear that his work above, ‘Six Apartments’, is no exception.
Text: Rosa Zangenberg