ASS, BACKWARDSS Art+Leisure - January, 2018
Fusing his experience as a prop maker with his obsession for films, George Jenne’s work interrogates cinematic structure and the process of storytelling within an open-ended, experimental framework. For ASS, BACKWARDSS, Jenne has created an “office” setting which envelopes the front half of the gallery, transforming the space into a physical analog of his filmic environments. The body of work also includes three single channel videos along with a group of photographic prints depicting props of mutilated and severed body parts. Shown in “cheap, random frames,” the prints capture the narrative of the installation and reflect Jenne’s attraction to DIY aspects of cinema.
In Jenne’s videos, particular films have a symbolic, totemic quality, and their particular connotations are often inextricably weaved into the storytelling arc of his narratives. In Mine Eyes Have Seen the Gory, the protagonist moves discursively from true crime scenarios (a kidnapping, murder, and decapitation described by America’s Most Wanted) to their parallels in cinema (the head of a Nazi melting in Raiders of the Lost Ark), concluding that “the two deaths are, at once, intertwined and irreconcilable.” The character then turns to books about prop making for horror films, uniting the narrative in an infinite loop of reality, film, and the physical nuts-and-bolts of cinematography.
Jenne’s encyclopedic consumption of films informs his artistic process. In Be Kind Rewind, an artist statement of sorts, he asserts that “watching movies, indiscriminately, is part of the daily work of a video artist,” adding that an “insatiable need surges when I contemplate the 2,861 movies released theatrically, worldwide, in my birth year alone. Based on that calculation, the volume of flicks that I have not yet seen provokes a staggering, lonely thought.” Jenne is particularly drawn to films that lie on the peripherals of the main stream, and his penchant for horror tropes is a current that runs through much of his work, including the videos shown in Quietly, Karen Black, his 2015 solo exhibition at Freight+Volume.