In her first major solo exhibition in the UK, Zabludowicz Collection presents four seminal works from the Collection by American artist Ericka Beckman that span over 30 years of genre-defying filmmaking.
Beckman’s work consistently treats film as a performance medium, and draws on the pioneering energy of her years at CalArts and the do-it-yourself sensibilities of New York’s Downtown Scene in the late 1970s and early 80s. It also astutely anticipates the social and cultural impact of video gaming and online networks over recent decades. Shot on 16mm, with all the animation and visual effects being constructed in camera through multiple exposures, Beckman’s films create narratives using the pedagogic and competitive structures of games. They playfully reveal the conditions of gender and identity formation in relation to labour, leisure, architecture and capital.
Ericka Beckman opens alongside a solo exhibition by British artist Marianna Simnett. The exhibitions continue the Collection’s 2018 focus on artists’ film and video and examining ideas of embodiment and performance of identity in relation to technology. Beckman and Simnett have each established unique approaches to storytelling that draw upon fairy tale archetypes and their works share an interest in how gender is constructed and its relationship to mechanisms of desire and capitalist consumption. Their works reflect the impact of new technologies – robotics, virtual reality, bio-medical – on both the built environment and subjectivity. In addition, both artists have developed distinctive uses of sound in their work as a pre-linguistic tool for communication. They utilise tropes of the musical from the abstract repetitions and rhythms of playground chants and nursery rhymes, to the cathartic effect of song as a narrative device.
About the artist
Ericka Beckman (b. 1951, Hempstead, New York) lives and works in New York City. After participating in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Programme in 1975, Beckman attended the California Institute of Arts for her MFA in 1976 graduating with many artists who would be later recognised as the Pictures Generation. Ericka Beckman’s work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions and film festivals most recently at Kunst-Werke (Berlin, Germany) in 2018; the Secession (Vienna, Austria) in 2017; Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), Muzeum Sztuki (Łódź, Poland), MAMCO (Geneva, Switzerland) in 2016; Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), Raven Row (London, UK) in 2015; Modern Art Oxford (Oxford, UK) and Swiss Institute (New York, NY) in 2014; Kunsthalle Bern (Bern, Switzerland), Tate Modern (London, UK) and Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Turin, Italy) all 2013 and has been included in four Biennials at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her work is in such collections as, The Broad (Los Angeles, CA), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). She is a Professor in Film and Video at MassArt, Boston.© The artist, courtesy Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch