Laura Hoptman, senior curator, and Amy Mackie, curatorial associate, have been busy putting the final touches onBrion Gysin: Dream Machine. Yesterday, Amy gave me a sneak peek of the show, which opened this morning.
The centerpiece is no doubt the Dreamachine itself, which has bragging rights to being the only artwork you are supposed to experience with your eyes closed. My inside sources say that you should be sure to grab an iPod at the front desk: they include The Master Musicians of Jajouka as well as the B-side of Throbbing Gristle’s Heathen Earth, the music that Gysin intended for viewers to hear while experiencing the kinetic sculpture. You can also listen to Gysin himself speaking on the audio guide, as it was assembled in part from archival recordings of the artist.
After spending some time experiencing the flicker effect in front of the Dreamachine, I was surprised to look back at the paintings and drawings and see an echo of the colors and shapes in my head. Amy explained that Gysin often painted the motifs he saw while using the dream machine. One wall of such paintings will be rehung every day in a different order, according to Gysin’s concept of permutations. The exhibition also includes a number of documents and ephemera that help to paint a picture of Gysin’s life and process.
Laura Hoptman, exhibition curator, has explored how Gysin’s practice influences artists working today. I admit it’s easy to draw parallels, from his interest in collaboration, to his fascination with multisensory experience. This is Gysin’s first retrospective in the States, so for those artists who aren’t yet swayed, consider it a future possibility.
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