This piece, like Fountains, was inspired by ideas pertinent to the discussion of painting: abstract expressionism and 'gesture', Japanese calligraphic paintings, hot and cold colors. Pisces Climactica is a proposal for discussing elements of abstract painting through video, but it also presents a narrative format. This video presents a love story in 5 parts, each one approximately 1 1/2 minutes long: The Lone Fish, The Encounter, The Engagement, Chasing Tail, The End (fin)

I precisely chose Beta fish for this piece for their behavioral properties: when 2 male Betas encounter each other in any waters, they fight until one of them destroys the other. I though this was a nice analogy for many Freudian ideas, narcissism among them.

In Pisces Climactica I was interested in creating a video that investigated issues of painting. Postmodernism promotes interdisciplinary practice – art that incorporates elements from more than one medium. But rarely do we see artworks that promote interdiscursivity – a term that I am proposing to address work that seeks to examine the discourse of one medium or artistic paradigm, through the medium of another. In Pisces Climactica I sought to represent and interrogate issues of painting, through the medium of video. I wanted to know if it was possible to do both.

There is a linear narrative to this video, centered around the traditional, archetypal topic of the ‘love story’. This love story is played out in 5 parts that are meant to parallel common and recognizable stages in human relationships: a lone fish (the single person), the encounter, the kiss, chasing tail (the pursuit), fin (the end). These phases are depicted through the actions of 2 Beta fish.

Visually, while the love story unfolds, there is an investigation of ideas of painting (what brushstrokes are necessary to ‘paint a picture’?). The elegant movement of the fins and tails of the red and blue fish are meant to mimic expressionistic and abstract brushstrokes, or perhaps even calligraphic strokes, as in ancient Japanese paintings.

The relationship between the fish is at once antonymic and narcissistic. Though the fish are opposite colors – red (hot) and blue (cold) – they embody the same biological structure. The fish mirror each other in their appearance and their movements. And, things aren’t always as they seem: when they appear to be kissing, they are actually trying to suffocate each other (another apt metaphor for an activity in a relationship). Male beta fish are natural enemies, and will fight until the death whenever they encounter each other, no matter how large or small the body of water. Since the Beta fish must identify another beta by inherently ‘recognizing’ a fish that looks like himself, I find this to be an interesting metaphor for the struggle that man has with his own image and ego, especially when trying to relate to others.

All Images © Micol Hebron, 2016