the reading
2011
single-channel video work
5 minutes 15 seconds
no sound

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video stills:

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accompanying text:

“This Is To Be Looked At”

It is a short, simple film of movement and stillness. A zebra's tail rhythmically moves next to its still and massive rump as the camera slowly pans, more or less horizontally, forward across the zebra's body. The angled stripes create a bold painterly composition, a flat abstract pattern filling a rectangular frame. It is startling when this graphic field suddenly moves, as the zebra twitches its muscles, and the pan, which briefly reverses, reaches the neck and the much narrower stripes of the head. Suddenly the eye blinks rapidly as the animal turns to briefly face us. Half animal and half Op art: is this what a zebra looks like?

After cutting to black, the pan slowly arrives at the theatrically-lit face of a blonde woman in three-quarter view, gazing intently in what seems to be the direction of the zebra. She is lit both from front and from behind, her glowing blond hair sharply isolated against the dimensionless black backdrop, creating an overtly artificial scene. Her eyes blink and she purses her lips, then briefly looks down, before she too disappears. Shot in Super-16mm, Zebra and Woman (2007) is silent and a little over five minutes long, but its oddness does not decrease with multiple viewings. A curious combination of cropping and movement allows the film to oscillate between painterly abstraction and three- dimensional reality. As Lisa Dorin notes, Elad Lassry “transforms his literal subjects – the zebra and the woman – into a means of presenting a space that is both cinematic and painterly.”

Excerpt from This Is To Be Looked At, by Liz Kotz.

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installation photographs from This Is To Be Looked At, Banner Repeater, London, UK, 2011:

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Commisioned by curator Zuzana Flaskova

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