Pilar Corrias Gallery is pleased to present Shadowland, the second solo exhibition by Swedish artist John Skoog with the gallery. The exhibition features a new film alongside a series of colour photographs.
Shot in the vicinity of Los Angeles, Shadowland (2014) is a rolling sequence of vast landscapes, seascapes and geological formations. All the locations, that Skoog has captured, were once used by the Hollywood film industry as stand-ins for other parts of the world. The diverse topography of the Californian region is able to replicate areas and countries from Afghanistan, Tibet, Sahara Desert, Sherwood Forest, French Alps, Alaskan Rivers, and fictional places such as Aladdin’s Cave or the Garden of Eden. In the film, California is a ‘non-place’; throughout it the landscape appears as a series of locations that morph from one place to another.
Shot on 16mm film, the black and white footage has a timeless quality. Some scenes feel like they are cut directly from silent cinema. Equally, the film merges place and time through sound: a dense mix of field recordings, fragments of dialogue, and sound clippings taken from films related to the locations. Skoog uses the sound intermittently, which dictates the direction of the footage. Shadowland oscillates between a documentary of a catalogue of places/landscapes to scenes from movies/film history.
The series of photographs on the ground floor gallery depict grand ‘movie palaces’ (opulently adorned cinemas built between the 1920s and 30s) across mid-west America. The exoticism of the architecture of these palaces was an integral part of the movie-going experience—some were designed to evoke the atmosphere of a place (a Spanish castle) or an era (French Baroque). Similar to going to the theatre, the dramatic surroundings of these 1,000 plus seated cinemas fostered a connection between the space, audience, and the film. The photographs capture these buildings in the present day. Some have been maintained as concert theatres and retain their extravagant furnishings, while others were converted into alternative venues like bingo halls, churches or flea markets.
Born in Kvidinge 1985, Skoog graduated from the Staedelschule, Frankfurt in 2012. He is the winner of the 16th Baloise Art Award in 2014 and the Ars Viva Prize in 2013. Selected shows and festivals include: Slow Return, MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2015); 65th Berlinale, Berlin (2015); Real DMZ Project 2014, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do & Artsonje Center, Seoul (2014); Redoubt, Towner Contemporary Art Museum, Eastbourne (2014); A Time for Dreams: 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Moscow (2014); Ars Viva Preis: Truth/Reality, MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main; GAM Galleria civica d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Turin (2014); Taming the Narrative, Basis as a part of b3 Biennale, Frankfurt am Main (2013); Echo Release, NKV Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (2013); Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (2014 & -13); Video_Dumbo, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York (2013); Spectrum Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rotterdam (2013); Sent på Jorden, Art Lab Gnesta, Gnesta (2013); Indielisboa, Lisbon International Film Festival, Lisbon, (2014 & -12), Rencontres Internationales: Paris, Centre Pompidou, Paris, (2014 & -11).