Mike Kelley: Psychosexual Pantomime, or: Character Development in the Emotional Homunculus
Bruce Yonemoto in person!
In a continuining celebration of the cinematic work of Mike Kelley, Los Angeles Filmforum presents two episodes from Kelley's multi-part Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction series, along with Kappa, a 1986 collaborative piece with Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, in which Kelley also performs.
In episode 36 (Vice Anglais) of the Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction series, Kelley cooks up a phantasmagorical mix of Hammer horror films and community theater, as weird ceremony, dramatic cliché, and incongruous characters collide and unfold in an atmospheric cave setting. Eleven years prior, in Kelley's first entry in the series, EAPR #1 (Domestic Scene), a school yearbook photo of two grubby young amateur actors is extrapolated into a miniature photoplay steeped in torment and hysteria.
Bruce and Norman Yonemoto collaborated with Kelley in 1986 to produce Kappa, a twisted retelling of the Oedipus story, in which Kelley and actress Mary Woronov inhabit a narrative environment blending tropes drawn from Eastern, Western, ancient, and contemporary sources.
Very gracious thanks to Mary Clare Stevens/Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, Bruce Yonemoto, and Electronic Arts Intermix for making this screening possible.
For more event information: www.lafilmforum.org, or 323-377-7238
Tickets: $10 general, $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.
Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #36 (Vice Anglais)
Mike Kelley, 2011, HD video, color, sound, 25m
Part of the multi-faceted project Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions, in which trauma, abuse and repressed memory are refracted through personal and mass-cultural experience, Vice Anglais is a bizarre conflation of British clichés played as a crossover between a sadomasochistic pantomime and a Hammer horror film. (Tate Modern)
Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (Domestic Scene)
Mike Kelley, 2000, SD video, b/w, sound, 30m
The first work in the Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction series. Kelley takes a still from a school play depicting two young men in a shabby apartment, and re-stages his version as a domestic psychodrama centered on a tormented relationship. (Tate Modern)
Bruce and Norman Yonemoto with Mike Kelley, 1986, SD video, color, sound, 26m
Kappa is a boldly provocative and original work. Deconstructing the myth of Oedipus within the framework of an ancient Japanese folk story, the Yonemotos craft a highly charged discourse of loss and desire. Quoting from Bunuel, Freud, pop media and art, they place the symbology of Western psychosexual analytical theory into a cross-cultural context, juxtaposing the Oedipal and Kappa myths in a delirious collusion of form and content. The Kappa, a malevolent Japanese water imp, is played with eerie intensity by artist Mike Kelley; actress Mary Woronov plays Jocasta as a vamp from a Hollywood exploitation film. Steeped in perversions and violent longings, both the Kappa and Oedipus legends are presented in highly stylized, purposefully "degraded" forms, reflecting their media-exploitative cultural contexts. In this ironic yet oddly poignant essay of psychosexual compulsion and catharsis, the Yonemotos demonstrate that even in debased forms, cultural archetypes hold the power to move and manipulate. (note courtesy Bruce Yonemoto)
Widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of our time, Mike Kelley (1954-2012) produced a body of deeply innovative work mining American popular culture and both modernist and alternative traditions - which he set in relation to relentless self and social examinations, both dark and delirious.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Kelley lived and worked in Los Angeles from the mid-1970s until his death at the age of fifty-seven. Over his thirty-five year career, he worked in every conceivable medium - drawings on paper, sculpture, performance, music, video, photography, and painting - exploring themes as diverse as American class relations, sexuality, repressed memory, systems of religion and transcendence, and post-punk politics, to which he brought both incisive critique and abundant, self-deprecating humor. (partial biography courtesy of MOCA, Los Angeles)
California-based artists Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, brothers who produced a body of collaborative videos beginning in 1976, deconstruct and rewrite the hyperbolic vernacular with which the mass media constructs cultural mythologies. Ironically employing the image-language and narrative syntax of popular forms such as soap opera, Hollywood melodrama and television advertising, the Yonemotos work from "the inside out" to expose the media's pervasive manipulation of contemporary reality and fantasy, individual and collective identity.
Bruce Yonemoto was born in 1949. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley and Sokei Art Institute in Tokyo, and received an M.F.A. from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. He has taught video and photography at universities in California and Japan, and has been a contributing writer for publications such as SEND and Artweek magazines. He is currently a Professor and Chair, Studio Art, at University of California, Irvine.
Norman Yonemoto was born in 1946 and died in 2014. He studied film at Santa Clara University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the American Film Institute. He was a contributing writer for Artweek magazine, and was the author of the commercial films Chatterbox (1976) and Savage Streets (1983).
This program is supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.
Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2014 is our 39th year.
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