A still from Pablo Pijnappel's 16-millimeter film "Sebastian." (Ambach & Rice )
Pablo Pijnappel is involved in a little bit of time shifting, and by that, I don’t mean watching a DVR. Indeed, the Dutch Brazilian artist’s exhibition at Ambach & Rice is perhaps the opposite of that pixilated experience, consisting of two loudly clacking 16-millimeter film projections. Unfortunately, his intentions come across less clearly than his nostalgia.
The films are both portraits of young men, although they are certainly a mix of fact and fiction. “Sebastian” is a black-and-white dual projection that pairs tangentially connected imagery with a dark screen that bears subtitles for the Spanish and Portuguese narration. The text is a mix of dream accounts and an essay written by the artist’s psychoanalyst grandfather on the split between words and meaning.
This disconnect is enacted visually by the two screens, and there are some intriguing motifs that echo between them (spiders, books, butchery) that carry a lingering psychological charge. But the work is perhaps too enamored of its own open-endedness to really have an effect.
Similarly indifferent is “Quirijn,” a color film that tracks the peripatetic Berlin wanderings of what we in the U.S. would call a slacker, a young man who wants to do little more than relax and drink coffee.
Indeterminacy is more apt here given Quirijn’s rejection of fast-paced contemporary striving. Presented on the antiquated medium of film, the work is potentially a critique. However, any argument it makes for the relaxed life is sadly thwarted by a nagging self-indulgence.
Ambach & Rice, 6148 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., (323) 965-5500, through Nov. 24. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.ambachandrice.com
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