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Wednesday
Jul292009

Chaperone with Beth Campbell

Altered States, Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures, 1980

Wednesday, July 29th, 7 pm

Altered States

(Ken Russell, 1980)

EFA Project Space presents Chaperone, a weekly screening series consisting of films handpicked by a group of artists, all whose work provocatively explores disparate aspects of our culture’s love affair with mediated reality.

EFA Project Space welcomes the artist Beth Campbell, as she chaperones the movie, Altered States (1980):

“I had many expectations while building my installation Following Room for the project space at The Whitney Museum. In short, I wanted to play on people’s perceptions and how we form our ideas about reality. Viewers assumed they were looking at mirrored reflections, but were actually looking at 12 individual rooms. Along with the multiplied realities, I implied the presence of the mirror’s planar surface with tubing and short false walls. Going in, I wanted to emphasize the perception of the physical space; what I didn’t anticipate was that the viewers would be compelled to reach out, to find out for themselves if a physical mirror was present. Over and over again, I learned how individuals would reach out to touch the solid surface of the mirror, only to penetrate right through the false membrane, “tearing” the whole piece wide open. I was instantly sent back to my memories of the movie Altered States released in 1980. I hadn’t seen it until it aired on HBO or Showtime, so I would have been about 10 or 11 — which can be a very transformative age — a time when consciousness of the self and a larger worldview start to emerge. I had been a good little Catholic, living in fear of Hell and all, until one day in CCD, I questioned the volunteer parent/teacher’s authority of faith. So began my intellectual life and pursuit into the experience of reality and the self. A few years later, I discovered my older brother was reading Carlos Castaneda’s The Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan. I emulated my brother and clumsily tried to read this wild, peyote-induced journey into the inner self and the primal soup of consciousness. I was totally out of my league; what little I could grasp of Castaneda was similar to my thought process while watching Altered States and developing a respectful fright, not of God, or scary murderers and ghosts, but of consciousness itself. I think these trippy, sci-fi psychological adventures really opened up my young yearning mind. I haven’t seen Altered States since the early ‘80s, so my memory of it and of one scene in particular could be, well… way off.”

Image courtesy the artist, Beth Campbell, and Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York

Beth Campbell is a New York-based artist originally from Dwight, Illinois. Her work explores the psychological and phenomenological conception of one’s surroundings through sculpture, installation, drawing, and video. Following Room, 2008, as exhibited in two variations at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Manifesta 7, Trento, Italy, is an optically jarring large-scale sculpture, whose subtle internal variation establishes an uncanny sense that a small, banal living room is seemingly reflected and multiplied many times over. Campbell has also created projects for the Public Art Fund; the Biennale Cuvee 09 World Selection of Contemporary Art; OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria; and the 6th Mercosul Biennial, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Recent group exhibitions include shows at The Andy Warhol Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Andrea Rosen, White Columns, the Drawing Room (London), and the Tang Museum. Her work is included at the Whitney Museum, the MOMA, and in the New Museum’s Altoids Collections. She is represented in New York by Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery.

EFA Project Space is located at 323 West 39 Street, 2nd Floor.

The Chaperone program has been organized by Ian Cooper, artist, and Michelle Levy, Program Director, EFA Project Space.

Sponsorship provided by

To see complete description and schedule for the Chaperone series, please click here.

For more information on the event, contact projectspace@efanyc.org, or 212-563-5855 x 151