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Laresa Kosloff

Author 
Andrew Frost

A woman takes a photo in a city square. A crowd of people are lifted up and down on ocean waves. A yellow diamond with legs dances in a cramped studio.

In Laresa Kosloff’s videos the human body is at the centre of an investigation into the ways in which behavior is circumscribed by cultural values and aestheticised criteria. Kosloff creates metaphors for the body’s relationship to the social contexts of work and play, sport and architecture, and even to the history of art itself. Kosloff’s videos are also hilarious. 

In a series of Super 8 films exhibited as DVD loops Kosloff created a sequence of single-shot shot documentations that highlight both the comedy of group behavior and the partiality of film/photographic media. Stock Exchange [1998], shot from a glass-sided lift, ascends and descends the atrium of an office block. As the elevator comes to halt, people can be seen through office windows, sitting at their desks, talking on the telephone or sitting mutely in meetings. Snap Happy [2001] documents a woman taking a series of photographs amid bustling tourists. Seen from above, it is impossible to see what she is seeing or, indeed, where she is. People walk around her leaving a perfectly consistent amount of space between the “snapper” and the crowd. In Kosloff’s Swell [2002] an enthusiastic group of people bob up and down with surprising speed and regularity in an artificial wave pool.

Whereas Kosloff’s Super 8 works have the timeless qualities of film stock – shot in grainy black and white, silent, short and difficult to geographically locate – her use of video is unmistakably contemporary. Her video works foreground the ritualistic aspects of human behavior, either in groups such as in dancing or in sports, or in unlikely meetings between the history of abstract painting and performance art. And unlike her film work, Kosloff’s videos are staged events using costumes, sets or locations. Feeling For You [2002] features a hand drawn animation of a track-suited woman dancing to a House anthem. As the repetitive music progresses, lyrics are rendered as three dimensional cut outs, and as the song reaches a crescendo, the animated body flies through the white space. Perhaps reflective of the physical and psychological aspirations of the artist, the work sets out a number of formal and thematic approaches within Kosloff’s practice, including the speculative and metaphorical possibilities of moving imagery.

Deep & Shallow [2004] is one of Kosloff’s most significant video works. Shot on a stark white stage set, the video is a series of choreographed sketches that describes behavior as something akin to a ritualized dance routine. Six figures in black garbage bags concealing everything but naked legs perform a series of vignettes reminiscent of “waiting”, “relaxing” or “hanging out” in a bar. 

Spirit and Muscle [2006] deploys elaborate geometric costumes that give the female performer the appearance of an abstract painting with legs. Shot in the cramped confines of a studio, the video progresses through a series of increasingly complex combinations of shape and colour, the performer finding the limits of the space – and the costume – restrictive. A similar sense of the absurd informs New Diagonal [2007] where a sculpture is used as a centre piece for a figure in a track suit to perform what appears to be a series of athletic movements, stretches and relaxation poses. Like all her works, New Diagonal underscores how mimetic gestures create a meaning for the viewer while simultaneously demonstrating just how quickly that meaning can be disrupted.

 


Date 
b. 1974
Birth place
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Period of activity 
from 1995
Selected works
Selected events
Laresa Kosloff,  Spirit & Muscle Digital video, 2006. Production still: Christian Capurro
Laresa Kosloff, Spirit & Muscle Digital video, 2006. Production still: Christian Capurro – from Spirit & Muscle 
Laresa Kosloff, Deep & Shallow, 2004, video still.
Laresa Kosloff, Deep & Shallow, 2004, video still. – from Deep & Shallow 
Laresa Kosloff, New Diagonal, 2007, production still: Alex Martinis Roe
Laresa Kosloff, New Diagonal, 2007, production still: Alex Martinis Roe – from New Diagonal 
Laresa Kosloff, Feeling for You, 2002
Laresa Kosloff, Feeling for You, 2002 – from Feeling for You 
Laresa Kosloff, Snap Happy, 2001
Laresa Kosloff, Snap Happy, 2001 – from Snap Happy 
Laresa Kosloff, Stock Exchange, 1998
Laresa Kosloff, Stock Exchange, 1998 – from Stock Exchange 
Laresa Kosloff, Office Skate, 2011
Laresa Kosloff, Office Skate, 2011 – from Office Skate