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Archive for November 2019

Now You See It, Now You Don't.

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photo by Jari Santala

I had the pleasure of catching Robert Jägerhorn’s most recent New York appearance at the United Solo Theatre Festival a few weeks back. United Solo is the largest solo theatre festival in the world and this was its 10th year, so rather important artists came back for the anniversary. I had seen Robert there a number of years back and was anxious to see how he could top his last elegant show. Robert is both a performance artist and magician, combining amazing magickal skills with comedy and panache. It also doesn’t hurt that he is so good looking.

The first time I saw Robert perform, his show centered around the conceit of finding a long, lost film of Alfred Hitchcock. It was inventive, charming and magically breath taking. Since that show, he has performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, was awarded Magician of the Year by The Finnish Magic Circle and performed on television in Finland and in France.

The show he brought to the Solo Festival is new territory for Robert. He calls it a Pop-Up Magic Show. It is very quiet, in fact, it is almost mime-like, with Robert working very intimately with the audience, doing close up magic with props. Yellow liquid is drunk and appears again, balls emerge from nowhere and weddings rings, borrowed from his audience, somehow show up in the most unlikely places. Interesting music takes the place of banter, so one could really pay attention to his nuanced handwork.

Robert’s in a class of his own. At one point I thought there were actually two of him on stage at the same time. He is a sophisticated talent and for me, my first truly entertaining Finn!

I hope to see more of his work and follow the direction he takes his magical charms.

The show was written and performed by Robert Jägerhorn, and directed by Markus Zink.

Written by nancykoan

November 29, 2019 at 3:24 am

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The Hikers…Rashid Johnson’s new show

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Huge mixed media canvases, primarily mosaics tell the story for of a fear that’s taken its unholy space since the Trump election. Broken Man, the breaking that many of us are feeling, especially men and boys of the Black community are in these works. But the breaks don’t seem fatal.The glass may be cracked, but the whole survives with strength and dignity.

There are two ways to see these works: micro, the fine detail of hand made tiles, splattered with markings and jeweled mirrors –then step back to macro, where the imposing figures, perhaps tribal, perhaps religious loom over the rest of the piece. At the talk back, Rashid, the most affable of fellows, is completely comfortable with himself and his art. He answered queries with delight, seeming to really enjoy what he was learning by answering these questions.

His film, The Hikers, is for me a meditation on nature and our species. One masked man dances alone, his arms extending out to the trees, as if he were part of tree, his own sinewy limbs moving in the wind. When he notices another, much like himself, now in the same space, I couldn’t help but think of two male creatures of any number of species, recognizing a potential competitor in its midst. But this was more of a mirror dance, finding compatibility of movement instead of domination.

There is also a living sculpture in the middle room. It is a black trunk like base which houses many different types of green plants, each emerging from its own secret space’ perhaps a reminder of how life forms can live with each other, separate, but still united in the comfort of its home base.

The show can be seen at Hauser & Wirth on 22nd Street until January 25.

Written by nancykoan

November 12, 2019 at 2:23 am