Catalogue essay by Liv Barrett
for 'Art#1' curated by Hannah Matthews
for ACCA, Wangaratta Exhibitions Gallery, Victoria 2010
Laresa Kosloff’s videos occur at the collision-point of human bodies and formal objects. If Modernism regularly sought to express this oppositional dynamic, Kosloff attempts to collapse it. The videos are revisionist narratives, where there is space for humour, imprecision and female flesh. Bodies and objects encounter each other in space, coalescing into a shared form and imitating the other’s shapes and trajectories. Through these processes, Kosloff offers a kinetic dialogue about what bodies and objects share, exchange and transmit to the other. The social and material impress upon the other, rather than compete for domination.
A human body grasping at its limit of potentiality is typically understood within the domain/dialectic of sport. To excel athletically, a body must suspend its tendency to be slippery, chaotic and imprecise. It is a technical challenge that sporting excellence is usually framed by both the amplification and the reduction of ways a body may move through space. New Diagonal borrows movements from the physical expressions of athletics, platform diving, aerial skiing and yoga. Kosloff quotes their shapes and motions and binds them together within her own continually moving form. She isolates these motions from their typically competitive outcomes and repositions them in physical relation to a white triangular sculpture. Animating the formal obsessions that determine judgements of art and sport, her body becomes a conduit for a dialogue between the material and the social.
In Deep & Shallow, Kosloff wraps the upper bodies of performers in garbage bags, tied above the head. The absence of faces invites a reading of each person as a unit rather than an individual. In group formation, these figures appear like currency, each equivalent to the same in value. They move through the space with the kind of collectiveness of a cluster of brine shrimp, constantly participating in an insubstantial rearranging of the group and spatial distribution of its members.
The animated video Feeling for You comes from an earlier stage of Kosloff’s investigation into tracing movements. A commercially successful dance track plays while a drawing representing the artist performs ambitious dance moves. Drawing is both restrictive and expansive in this instance, enabling Kosloff to perform beyond her physical limitations, while preventing any real movement at all.