About this artwork
Hirsch Perlman, a formerly Chicago-based artist who has lived and worked in Los Angeles since the late 1990s, is known for simple, witty, and self-reflexive photographs and videos. Intensely studio-driven, his work is often created in the spirit of isolated, homespun, nineteenth-century experiments and accidental discoveries. Indeed, in his art, Perlman cultivates the aura and mystery of a mad scientist.
Built upon a narrow conceptual framework, his project revolves around a delib-erately limited set of spatial and material choices. One series, for instance, offers a daily chronicle of his three-year-plus retreat into his studio, where he created art only from small incidents and with packing supplies and readily available, found materials. Perlman has called these tragicomic works “low-tech allegories of process … stories about what artists do.” Ultimately, his charmingly modest pieces reveal themselves as highly sophisticated, self-knowing, and intelligent commentaries on the obsessive aspects of art making. The results speak to the constraints and the freedoms such impulses bring.
Two Affect Studies consists of characteristically simple experiments. In the first sequence, a tape measure marks a spot on the wall while the camera documents the mad, free forms of a rubber band repeatedly snapped into the air. The image is improbably set, to near-comic effect, against “Functional” (1957), a tune by jazz legend Thelonious Monk. In the second part of the work, Perlman recorded the visual effects produced by the billowing wisps of smoke from two cigarettes left smoldering in an ashtray. Accompanied by Samuel Barber’s willfully sentimental “Adagio for Strings” (1936), this sequence, like its counterpart, uncovers the surprising potential for emotion, humor—and, ultimately, meaning—that resides within the simplest of stunts.
- Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Hirsch Perlman
- Two Affect Studies
- United States (Object made in)
- Two color videos, sound (single-channel projection); 15:08 min. loop, and two ink jet prints, 16 x 20 in., 20 x 16 in. Artist's proof number two of two, from an edition of three
- Gift of Donna and Howard Stone
- Courtesy of the Artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.