About this artwork
Elad Lassry’s films and photographs are distinguished by a rigorous formalism and a profound engagement with theories and histories of representation. Eschewing the labels of photographer and filmmaker, Lassry adopts the conceptual conceit of an artist using a camera; he is inspired by picture making in the tradition of practitioners such as Jack Goldstein, whose films, which resemble “moving photographs,” reject narrative altogether. Based in Los Angeles, Lassry creates elegant and economical compositions that take advantage of professional actors, animal trainers, and camera crews—works that at once draw upon and slyly critique the structures and institutions of Hollywood and the art world.
Zebra and Woman is a single-shot Super 16mm film that opens with an image of a wagging tail against a black background, suggesting the flickering of a motion picture. As the camera pans over a zebra’s hide, the animal’s breath causes a visual vibration.The black-and-white pattern, which eventually fills the entire screen, evokes the Op Art paintings of Bridget Riley as well as the compositional experiments of Morris Louis, referencing in particular Alpha-Pi (1960), a work from his Unfurled series in which multicolored paint rivulets seemingly enter from outside the picture and flow diagonally toward the empty white center of an unprimed canvas. In a similar treatment, Lassry’s camera passes over the zebra’s body and head, moving through an empty blackness to reveal a close-up of a beautiful blonde woman portrayed by actress Radha Mitchell. In this way, the artist transforms his literal subjects—the zebra and the woman—into a means of presenting a space that is both cinematic and painterly. As in the work of William Wegman and Diana Thater, human and animal relationships figure prominently in Lassry’s oeuvre. Here, he addresses the psychological void between his subjects, which he represents by the pan through darkness, and also explores their respective experiences of portraiture.
- Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Elad Lassry
- Zebra and Woman
- Super 16mm color film, silent; 5:21 min. loop Edition number one of three
- Wilson L. Mead Fund; Contemporary Art Discretionary and The Orbit funds