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Owen Land Logical Facades

21 March 3 May 2008

Office Baroque is pleased to present Owen Land: Logical Facades. Logical Facades will be the first individual gallery exhibition of acclaimed American artist Owen Land (°1944). Land debuted as an experimental film maker in the 1960’s with a critique of structural film. His practice spans over several decades and includes mainly film works on 16mm and on hi-video.

The exhibition Logical Facades at Office Baroque is the first attempt to understand the continued engagement of Land’s artistic and filmic practice with the topics of economy, identity politics, and art history within the framework of postconceptual artistic practices. Moreover it will focus on his ability to combine critical narratives, with an eloquent, yet playful post-conceptual aesthetic. The exhibition wishes to understand Owen Land both as a source artist, and as peer artist, for a younger generation of European and American artists including Fischli and Weiss, Jonathan Monk, Christopher Williams, Omer Fast or Rodney Graham.

Owen Land was born and raised in Connecticut, USA. He studied acting and acting improvisation at Goodman Drama School and Second City, Chicago. Land founded the Experimental Theater Workshop at the Art Institute of Chicago and wrote and directed several musical theater pieces. His first films are dated around 1961. Land’s two most complex films, according to Mark Webber, are Wide Angle Saxon (1975), in which a man has a moment of spiritual revelation during an avant-garde screening at the Walker Art Center, and On the Marriage Broker Joke, (1977), whose disparate cast of characters include two pandas discussing and making an avant-garde film about the marketing of Japanese salted plums.

Currently Owen Land is finishing Dialogues (2007-ongoing) a feature length work on hi-video. Dialogues is informed by Land’s study of folklore, myth and history and the theology of all major religions, including Gnosticism and Kabbala. It ironically uses the form of the Platonic dialogue to explore the themes of reincarnation, art criticism, and female sexual desire. Dialogues includes pastiches of well-known Hollywood films as well as the films of Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Jim McBride and others.

The exhibition Logical Facades will include six works. It embarks with the early Film in which there Appear Edge Lettering from 1965-66, to clearly mark Land’s concern with structural film, while at the same time already distancing himself from the solemn approach of his fellow film makers in the 1960’s. Logical Facades will further include A film of their 1973 Spring Tour, 1974 and Undesirables, 1999, a rough cut of selected scenes on experimental film makers in a fictional theory about the end of experimental film.

In 2009, Owen Land will be featured in a traveling individual exhibition that is premiering in spring 2009 at the Kunsthalle Bern. Dialogues will be co-produced by the Kunsthalle Bern.

The films of Owen Land have been preserved by the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna.