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  • 4.0 star rating
    First to Review
    Listed in My Firsts!

    The first time I walked into Galerie Suvi Lehtinen I was like "... What?" There was a video installation, which was not surprise in itself, but the sequences of clips on all the channels were from thirty-year-old Hollywood movies, and it had the kind of soundtrack and female voiceover you'd hear on an insurance commercial. There were bursting fireworks and swelling music. What sort of gallery was Suvi Lehtinen, I wondered, to show such kitschy stuff? But it got to me emotionally, because even when they are all cut up Hollywood movies always make me have feelings. I just can't help it! So I kept watching, and the installation looped back to the beginning.  There was an audio track (added to seem like diegetic sound but it wasn't in the originals) with reporters on the TV and radio talking about the AIDS crisis. That's when I understood that Allese Cohen (the artist) was grounding the time when the movies were made in political history, and using the movies to communicate the history of the AIDS crisis with Hollywood's techniques of manufacturing emotion instead of the usual didactic, agitprop way. It was very smart, like contemporary art usually is, and very moving, which contemporary art usually is not. I'm glad Galerie Suvi Lehtinen showed this work.

    The only problem with this gallery was that the press release said the installation included a fragrance developed by the artist in collaboration with the perfumer. It seems like "smell art" is becoming popular now and that's cool. The problem with Allese Cohen's smell art was that I only learned about it from reading the press release. I didn't notice it when I was there. If you're going to show smell art it has to be bold! So minus one star for faintness of scent.

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