Fridman Gallery is honored to premiere Donna Conlon’s short film Grandpa (2015), the artist’s second exhibition with the gallery, following Invisible Hands (with Jonathan Harker) in 2014. The gallery’s black-box screening room will give full effect to the film’s rich cinematography and sound.
Grandpa pivots around a stream-of-consciousness monologue by Conlon’s father-in-law, afflicted with an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The steady, meditative flow of his speech, uninterrupted by intonations, pauses or punctuation, is set against a lush ocean scape and the relentless sound of lapping waves. The video follows the lead of the audio, surfacing and plunging as the voice lapses in and out of glancing moments of relative lucidity. The work is a portrait of a unique mind, unknowingly transgressing social conventions in favor of sheer expression.
Unscripted and guided by aphasic speech, the film stands in fascinating contrast to the meticulously structured videos for which Conlon is widely known. Grandpa exemplifies the artist’s ability to freeze and remeasure time in order to reveal innate connections of the human psyche to the environment. In this way, the film relates to Coexistence (2008), a series of photographs available in the gallery’s viewing room, in which rust-red leaf-cutter ants transport artificial leaf fragments painted with peace signs and flags of countries in the United Nations.
Concurrently with the exhibition, Coexistence, the video, will be shown in Home is a Foreign Place at the Met Breuer, a survey of the Met’s recent acquisitions, from April 9, 2019.
Donna Conlon lives and works in Panama City, Panama. In 2002 she earned an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and had a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Conlon participated in the 51st Venice Biennale, Pacific Standard Time, Prospect New Orleans, the Biennale of the Americas, the 8th Mercosur Biennale, and the 10th Havana Biennale. Her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim, Pérez Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Palais de Tokyo, Kadist Foundation, Istanbul Modern Art Museum, and other institutions. Conlon’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim, Queensland Art Gallery, the Kadist Foundation, the Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporáneo, the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Art Foundation, Daros Latinamerica, and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, among others.