Richard Turner 12.10.08
AUTHOR: MICOL HEBRON 11.01.08-01.12.09 Grand Central Art Center, California State University, Fullerton
Richard Turner’s multimedia installation Contempt Mandala, 1999–2008, offers a psychogeographic journey through a proposed collision between the characters and architecture of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt and the locales and structures that linger in the artist’s memory of his youth in India and Vietnam. Departing from the theme of destabilization that undermines the marriage of Paul and Camille in Godard’s film, Turner dismantles and reconfigures the subjectivity of the characters as well as his own authorial presence, via a Rube Goldbergian chain of associations. As a modern-day version of Ulysses, who is the subject of the film within Godard’s film, Turner voyages through site and media to juxtapose elements of stable classicism with kinetic modernism: the familiar West with an unfamiliar East, a psychological interior with a geographic exterior. The exhibition consists of a large and elaborate sculptural mandala, a four-chapter video, and several paintings, all of which explore notions of autobiographical interpretation as cosmology. Turner catalogues his own artistic journey as he reminds himself and his viewers that, while everything we know and experience is interconnected, it is also in constant flux. The imagery and forms all function to document time and place—a mandala, an astrological observatory, reconfigured maps. Moving from the nostalgic to uncharted territory, Turner tracks how people and locations can be grounding, and how shifts in perspective result when life propels us away from the familiar and into new spaces, psychological or otherwise. Turner, whose public-art sculptures have been an important force in the Southern California art world since the 1980s, has now created a personal and very poignant installation, rife with complexity and quirkiness.