Monica Bonvicini

Monica Bonvicini, Shotgun, 2003, video, 21 min, sound, color, © Monica Bonvicini/ VG Bild-Kunst

“Increasingly preoccupied with the psychological implications of different kinds of spaces, Bonvicini’s installations have become more orchestrated and suspenseful. While destruction has played a prominent part in earlier work, recent work suggests a reflection on decay, disintegration, and illness. Her video piece Shotgun (2003) consists of a dual projection on DVD made from footage shot from a moving car in Los Angeles. One side of the projection consists of a slow moving pan of store fronts, streets, carparks, backs of suburbs, roadsides; all delineated by brick walls, metal grills and wire fences. The second side shows three smaller moving frames that run across a larger scale still image of the windowless side of a breeze block building; in the foreground, weeds grow out of a cracked pavement.

Recalling Ed Ruscha’s 1966 fold-out book, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, or Martha Rosler’s photographs of roadways taken while driving around New York in her series Rites of Passage (1995-98), Bonvicini’s moody urban travelogue suggests anonymity, neglect and abandonment. The haunting sound-track accompanying the projection intersperses an edgy tune drawn out on a cello with high frequency alarm signals and a recording of a phone-in radio programme on home improvements. The presenter has one of those deep, melodious, ‘radio voices’: ‘Tell me Kathy. Is there water coming through? Are there cracks in the foundation?’ We eventually hear that the shotgun referred to is a type of fungus that is growing up Kathy’s wall.”

Excerpt from Poetry of Desolation by Suzanne Cotter (published in: Monica Bonvicini. Anxiety Attack, Oxford, 2003)