Alex Prager’s new exhibition, Part Two: Run, is the concluding chapter of her investigation into social upheaval and humans’ response to it, which began with her exhibition Part One: The Mountain that debuted this time last year.
The exhibition’s name stems from its central component – a short film called Run, which is in turn named after a song by Ellen Reid, who features on the soundtrack along with Phillip Glass. The film illustrates Prager’s penchant for toying with archetypes, a defining feature in last year’s instalment of the project, which also came with a film element. A few of the characters seen in the last chapter reappear this time around too – the bushy-eyebrowed Bruce, for example.
Whereas the previous film features a series of interviews with cast members in character, Run is decidedly more action-packed. The film opens with a group of people slowly rolling a large mirrored sphere onto an otherwise average street on an average day. The introduction comes alive with the sounds of choral chants announcing the film’s name – a haunting touch that carries through the film, which playfully leans on the surreal horror canon. The mysterious sphere is activated when a suburbanite puts a coin in a machine, setting the ball on its course through the streets.
“The Mountain was purely exploring the emotional states of being in a situation that’s so extreme,” Prager told WePresent recently. “Run explores the mechanics that got us there.”
The exhibition brings together complementary works made in other mediums, including Ball, a mirror sculpture inspired by the film’s central object, in which visitors’ own reflections immerse them in the scene. Photographs drawn from the film are also in the show, including Cecily, which shows the protagonist (played by Katherine Waterston) wearing a sorrowful expression that seems at odds with her sugary outfit.
Another work, called Sleep, is an unsettling composition showing people lying on the ground in a suburban street, as though an apocalypse has swept through a flash mob – a symbol of Prager’s uncanny blend of the sickly and the sinister.
Part Two: Run by Alex Prager is on show at Lehmann Maupin New York until March 4; lehmannmaupin.com