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Pascual Sisto

Monument Valley

Los Angeles | January 25 - March 16 2014
Press: Art in America Review

“I think you can say that the real star of my Westerns has always been the land,”

-John Ford.

John Wayne, the Marlboro man, 2001 a Space Odyssey, Chevrolet, Grand Theft Auto, Roadrunner and Kanye West have all shared screen time with Monument Valley -- celebrating, idealizing and eulogizing the vast American landscape. For his exhibition at 5 Car Garage, Pascual Sisto repurposes Monument Valley as a site specific video installation that peels through the multiple layers of representation it has been subjected to since the 1930’s. The installation consists of four videos playing concurrently on flat screen TVs and projections along the 33ft wall of the gallery, becoming a mural, billboard and/or portal to some of the most iconic portrayals of Monument Valley as a staged background in the media.

The videos oscillate between depictions of the location within narrative films, video games, car commercials, stock photography and as spatial product for the 350,000 tourists that come to see it every year. A backdrop that has abandoned any distinction between the real and the cinematic to become one of the most recognizable, well packaged and mythologized symbols of the American West.

The landscape Jean Baudrillard once described as “upturned relief patterns, sculpted out by wind, water, and ice, dragging you down into the whirlpool of time, into the remorseless eternity of a slow-motion catastrophe” still stands there today, untouched and unaffected by the millions of exposed film frames. A tableau where any sort of clear differentiation between the real, hyper-real and virtual has dissolved, yet it remains an otherworldly place so unusual that transcendental change can still happen.

Pascual Sisto is an artist based in Los Angeles. He graduated with a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011 and is a recipient of the 2012 California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship. He recently completed a commission by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas to create video scenography for the New World Symphony in Miami. In 2006 he was commissioned by Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne to create video works for the exhibition Morphosis: Continuities of the Incomplete at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and in 2012, he completed a commission by the Cultural Affairs Department to create a 29 channel video for a permanent installation at the Tom Bradley International Terminal in the Los Angeles Airport. Recent exhibitions include Seventeen Gallery (London, UK), Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena, USA), Prism Gallery (Los Angeles, USA), Garage Projects at the 54th Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy), Arts Santa Monica (Barcelona, Spain) and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City, USA). Pascual Sisto lives and works in Los Angeles.