True Stories

When 13 Jan 2012 - 25 Feb 2012
Where Locks Gallery
600 Washington Square South
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

January 13 – February 25 2012

Press Release:

Locks Gallery is pleased to present True Stories, a video screening curated by Lilly Wei, on view from January 13th through February 25th, 2012, with a reception on Friday, February 3rd, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. True Stories is accompanied by an illustrated brochure with an essay by Lilly Wei.

True Stories seeks to explore one territory of video art, close to the documentary form. “Documentary is a form in constant evolution in our age of raucous, insistent, unmediated revelation… Inevitably, the idea of factuality has been complicated, the ratio of truth to invention fluctuating, as video artists and filmmakers redefine the genre, layering and expanding the documentary’s formats, altering its nature,” writes Wei.

Wei selected twelve videos from artists around the world, some of which will be premiering in the United States (Jan Tichy, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, and Doug Fishbone). With one exception, the videos will be projected on two large screens in the gallery space, offering the viewers a theatrical experience.

The selection stands on a razor’s edge between documentary and fiction, questioning the verisimilitude of the moving image. Works like Amy Grappell’s and Tracey Emin’s are biographical, or autobiographical. Interviews give a first-hand testimony on events that we don’t see any image of (Dor Guez). Videos with no voice-over leave an open interpretation to the viewer. Double takes and behind-the-scene sequences suggest the interference of truthful emotions or intentional acting (Stefanos Tsivopoulos). Haendel and Ringbom’s dramatic close-ups scrutinize every expression of their characters’ faces. Qingsong and Fishbone directly question the trust that we place in images, taking the argument to two extremes, violence and hypnosis.

Feature-length videos, The Man (Kjartansson) and War after War (Leung) offer two rather different filmic biographies intertwined with philosophy, humor, and an aesthetic of repetition. Tichy’s Project Cabrini Green documents a four-week light installation in one of Chicago’s last standing project high-rises in the process of being razed. It will play in real-time over the course of thirty days, the duration of the original project.

Lilly Wei is a New York-based independent curator, essayist and critic who writes regularly for Art in America. She writes for several other publications here and abroad, frequently reporting on international biennials. The curator of a number of exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Asia, she is currently developing an exhibition of contemporary Israeli photographers and video artists for the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York.

True Stories continues Locks Gallery’s Curator’s Choice exhibitions (previous curators include Peter Campus, Klaus Ottman, and Barry Schwabsky). An essay by Lilly Wei will be published in a brochure accompanying the exhibiton and is also available on the gallery website


Shorts (main screen)
Videos screen on a loop and begin every 2 hours at: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm
Tracey Emin, How it Feels, 1996 (22:33 min.)
Amy Grappell, Quadrangle, 2009 (17 min.)
Dor Guez, (Sa)Mira, 2009 (13:40 min.)
Karl Haendel and Petter Ringbom, Questions For My Father, 2011 (11:17 min.)
Fikret Atay, Tinica, 2004 (7:32 min.)
Wang Qingsong, Iron Man, 2008 (4 min.)
Fahed Halabi and Ala Farhat, Working Day, 2009 (16 min.)
Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Untitled (The Remake), 2007 (14 min.)
Doug Fishbone, Untitled (Hypno Project), 2009 (12:55 min.)

Feature length (back room)
Simon Leung, War After War, 2011 (90 min.) 10am, 1pm, 4pm
Ragnar Kjartansson, The Man, 2010 (49 min.) 12pm, 3pm

Real time (main space)
Jan Tichy, Project Cabrini Green, 2011 (30 days)

For more information please click here.