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by Charlie Finch
|Ugo Rondinone, "Love Invents Us," Mar. 4-Apr. 15, 2000 at Matthew Marks Gallery, 522 West 22nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.
Last month we criticized the often sloppy and slapdash video installations at the Matthew Marks Gallery.
Well, Matty and his young, energetic staff definitely got the message, mounting Ugo Rondinone's impressive surroundarama piece, It's late and the wind carries a faint sound... at Marks 22nd Street multiplex.
Those of you old enough to remember David Lynch's TV series Twin Peaks will recognize many of its elements here --- hypnotizing modal music repeating over and over again; a zonked out dancing woman in loose shift print dress; the bobbing head of a sinister, mustachioed man; strange shadowed figures entering a car; all bathed in a purple afterglow under a stunning, checkered lavender ceiling.
In contrast to Marks' recent Sam Taylor-Wood disaster, the equipment, both sound and light, is first-rate. The projected images are crisp, clean and large against the walls, the atmosphere a warm and soothing Chelsea incubator.
To experience a sensory triumph such as this, we recommend the so-called "Marathon Method" of gallery-going:
Position your back straight against the wall, then slide down until your butt hits Matty's cold, stone floor.
To avoid pins and needles, periodically shift your legs from the lotus position to a straight out stretch. Very relaxing.
Then for a minimum of 45 minutes, silently chant the mantra "Ugo Rondinone" (is that an anapest or a spondee?) over and over again until you reach Chelsea nirvana.
Slowly the nervous arrival of erect, ambulatory gallery visitors will blend into the purple walls and ceiling for a safe, legal hallucination.
We tried this at the opening for an hour with Art Club 2000's Patterson Beckwith, and as the gallery closed, we greeted Matty's staffers of all persuasions with love on our lips.
On a minor note, the show is marred by the usual collector candy, unspeakable dark photographs and psychedelic $30,000 Ken Noland ripoffs, that typify the video experience these days, but if it finances the laser light show in Marks' dome, so what?
Matthew proves once again that he's a quick learner, and to that we tip our hat.
Maybe he'll grow up to be Mary Boone.
CHARLIE FINCH is author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (1998).