Catherine Opie “The Modernist” at Regen Projects
2018 / Los Angeles, USA 美国洛杉矶

MMA project team
Michael Maltzan, Ghid-gee Tse,  Su Chang, Joseph DiMatteo

Catherine Opie’s first film, “The Modernist,” debuted at Regen Projects in Los Angeles in 2018. MMA constructed a small, enclosed theatre within the central space in which visitors can view the film that is composed of over 800 black and white still images.

The theatre design evokes the lines and curves of the modernist architecture portrayed in the film. The exterior mirrored surface of the theatre visually dissolves the solidity of the structure while reflecting the static wall images, recalling iconic moments of simultaneity, transparency, and reflectivity that are hallmarks of many midcentury residences.

The 22-minute film presents a dystopic view of Los Angeles, a city that has figured prominently in Opie’s work over the years. The film is in conversation with Chris Marker’s La Jetée, which utilizes still photography to tell a story of longing, time travel, and the terror of nuclear apocalypse. Opie’s film continues this dialogue, employing similar formal and narrative structures to a different end, while focusing a struggling artist who is obsessed with landmark midcentury modern architecture.

The exhibition was on view from January 12-February 17, 2018; Images courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles; photography by Brian Forrest.