Artist: Ericka Beckman
Venue: Le Magasin, Grenoble
Exhibition Title: Works 1978 – 2013
Curated by: Yves Aupetitallot
Date: February 8 – May 4, 2014
Full gallery of video, images, press release and link available after the jump.
Ericka Beckman, excerpt from We Imitate; We Break Up, 1978. Super-8/color/sound. 30 minutes. Produced, directed, shot and edited by Ericka Beckman. Vocals: Ericka Beckman and Bob Getter.
Ericka Beckman, excerpt from You The Better, 1983. 16mm color/sound. 30 minutes. Produced, directed, shot and edited by Ericka Beckman. Starring Ashley Bickerton. Music and vocals by Beckman/Brooke Halpin. Produced with funds from The National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Ericka Beckman, excerpt from Cinderella, 1986. 16mm/ color/sound. 30 minutes. Produced, directed, shot and edited by Ericka Beckman. Starring Gigi Kalweit and Mike Kelley. Sound track composed by Brooke Halpin. Vocals by Katy Cavanaugh. Produced with funds from The Jerome Foundation and The New York State Council on the Arts.
Ericka Beckman, excerpt from Hiatus, 1999. 16mm/ color/sound. 30 minutes. Produced, directed, shot and edited by Ericka Beckman. Starring Madi Distefano and Daniel Ruth. Sound Design by Bruce Darby. Produced with funds from The National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Council on the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Experimental Television Center.
Ericka Beckman, excerpt from Switch Center, 16mm/ Color/Sound. 12 minutes. Shot, Edited and sound design by Ericka Beckman. Produced in collaboration with BALAZS BELA STUDIO, Budapest, Hungary, Artslink, USA, Hungarian Moving Pictures Foundation, Fóvárosi Vizmúvek Rt., Budapest, and Televizija Slovenska, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Ericka Beckman, Tension Building, 2012. HD/color/sound. 7 minutes. Shot and edited by Ericka Beckman.
Video and images courtesy of the artist and Le Magasin, Grenoble
American artist Ericka Beckman was trained at CalArts in the mid-1970s. There she met a number of artists, friends and later collaborators, Matt Mullican, James Casebere and Mike Kelley.
Beckman finds inspiration from a number of sources, including the developmental psychology of Jean Piaget, as well as American sport culture, Hollywood films, and 1960’s cartoons. Integrating these sources to her own vivid imagination, Beckman’s films bring to life what she calls “the performance of the image.”
Taking especially from Piaget’s thesis that physical action is the basis of all language, Beckman creates animated games, incorporating their structural elements of rhythm, repetition, verbal chants, and colorful symbolic imagery. In her Super-8 Trilogy, Beckman explores the child’s acquisition of symbolic thought. When the child sets an object in motion, the action becomes a mental image, and once this image is acquired and stable, it establishes a schema of further action.
The sets and props of Beckman’s films are hand-made, and then animated by the use of a stop-motion technique. Ericka Beckman uses a technique called in camera superimposition, where she rewinds the film in the camera and shoots several images on top of each other for each scene.
Using this craft-based process of creating objects, instead of employing newer technologies, gives Beckman the concentration she needs. Without an exact pre-knowledge of how each image will materialize, the possibility of “mistakes” is introduced, and then incorporated into the creative process. This keeps her film making active, performative, and filled with surprise.
“Film is creating a reality through the makeshift. My films move backwards, using narrative structures, as does the mind of anyone trying to grasp the meaning of images in his memory. I juxtapose a model of the past, those ‘should have been’ meanings, with the past as remembered, as known to be riddled with mistakes and breeches of meaning. I reconstruct events and places as models to identify the details of a ‘choice’ or to locate the moment a ‘choice’ was available but went by unseized. By recalling the fear evoked by choice, film can fictionalize that fear and provide new consequences.” Ericka Beckman, published in the catalogue for Horror Pleni, 1980.