Ann Lislegaard have with the video installation Eyes Wide Open at the National Museum of Photography delivered a beautiful, unmistakably contemporary movement with deep roots. Ann Lislegaard, professor at the School of Media Arts, studied at the Art Academy in Copenhagen and at the International Studio Program in New York. Ann Lislegaard has in recent years gained the attention of the international art scene. She points to her artwork on basic experience ways and basic elements of art.
Eyes Wide Open is a full-body experience that confounds perception. In this respect, Lislegaard’s work draws on strategies pioneered by film and video artists in the 1960s and 1970s who used light and sound to dislocate the viewer by transforming the physical parameters of the gallery space. 5 It folds the corners of the room into the corners of our eyes and heightens awareness of our physical presence in the space. Our experience of the work depends on how we navigate it, and in the process we become acutely aware of our perceptual activity. Eyes Wide Open invites a wider angle of vision and a broader range of hearing. Like the minimal musical compositions of composers such as Steve Reich that use phasing manipulations to create overlapping and periodically merging rhythms, Lislegaard provides us with numerous streams of syncopated audio and visual information to which we can intermittently affix our attention. As counterpoints to the lulling rhythm of the projections and the calm tenor of the voice, the visual and audio tracks constantly interrupt, laminate, and punctuate one another snapping us over and over into the moment.
Like grasping at a dream that dissolves as we wake up, Eyes Wide Open forces our mind to jump between two audio and visual spectacles in an effort to reconcile, process, and store individual moments and impressions. The acute sensory awareness it demands deflates our passivity, forcing us to realize that reconciliation of audio and visual stimuli is a never-ceasing, solitary experience. To experience the work is to discover its essence, as Lislegaard disorients us only to push us into the immediacy of our bodies and our minds.
Ann Lislegaard and Director Ingrid Fisher Jonge, The National Museum of Photography, approached Front Nordic to create a catalogue for the exhibition.