Deep & Shallow

Deep & shallow 2004
Video, 4:00 duration

Make it modern

Curated by Juliana Engberg, Deloitte office, Melbourne, 2005

Excerpt from catalogue essay by Juliana Engberg “The construction of modernism as a set of abstract, yet tangible shapes can be traced through the twentieth century. But perhaps most vividly, the colour, space and shape experiments of the Bauhaus, in Germany, provided the blueprint for the sturdiest of modernist trajectories. In Melbourne that legacy is all around us: in the primary colours employed by DCM architects, in the stylish swish of Frederick Romberg’s buildings, and in the modernist glass-curtain wall buildings, of which Deloite’s home in the BHP Billiton building, is a most apposite current example.”

“Her video project Deep & Shallow also references the early design and painting experiments of the Bauhaus. Kosloff’s figures – clad in what appears to be black hessian bags that enclose their upper body, but leave their legs naked – arrange themselves around a set of molecular 3D line and dot, square and solid space diagrams. Her figures enact deep and shallow space, in a renovated action of performance painting and theatrical sculpture. The paintings of Surrealist Jean Miro, the theatre costumes of Bauhaus designer Oscar Schlemmer, and drawings of Paul Klee, all seem to be evoked in Kosloff’s playful performance, which in turn refers to the modernist workshop of experimentation.”


Fellow Anthropoid

Curated by Phillip Watkins, CAST gallery, Hobart, 2005

Excerpt from catalogue essay by Phillip Watkins

“The dilemma of the degree to which the formation of identities becomes compromised (through the appeal and response of communication) is in Laresa Kosloff’s Deep & Shallow. The bagged figures that ritualistically enact nonsensical or arcane performances, acquire character and identity through their interaction with one another; a gestural give and take that we as observers read as significant in some way.

But for all these distinctions, which increase the more you watch them, the figures themselves are, it seems, a priori anonymous, abstract; all signs of integral difference made void through the masking of face and upper body. Their uniformity, carefully considered by Kosloff, (to the extent that each participant was chosen on the basis that their physique matched that of the artist) rather than suggesting a gagging of individuality, creates a being prior to it, prior to consciousness itself even.

Consequently the figures take on the pathos of tragicomic metaphor; a portrait of humanity, physically isolated and vulnerable, yet reassured and defined by the need for social contact and boundaries; they also suggest a denial of the assumed independence of individualism, becoming (particularly in the light of Kosloff’s choice of cast) a multi-faceted self portrait.”



Click here to read Lily Hibberd's article about this work.