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It could be argued that Jeremy Kidd is a great visual multitasker, his eye always to the camera, gazing everywhere at once, capturing every nuance of light and space. “Fictional Realities” at Laguna Art Museum, Kidd’s first museum outing, presents a series of chromogenic prints on aluminum panel, composed of hundreds of images, all transposed and manipulated to create an intricate range of staggered, Moebius-like relationships. Each image involves approximately a two-minute exposure, and when condensed comprises several hours of photographic footage, encompassing a 360-degree panoramic view. Kidd has set himself the task of redefining the American landscape, rupturing it into evermore immediate, disjunctive, and implausible fictions. These buildings bear down on us with strange and undeniable historical gravity.

Since the immemorial, mankind has had an overwhelming resolve to conquer literal space and time, and in some cases even enslave it to serve as visual evidence of our ever-expanding presence, an obsession of which Kidd seems keenly aware. To him, it seems unrealistic to expect a single photographic shot, a single movement in time, to convey this omnivorous, all-seeing human eye, so Kidd fictionalizes his surroundings to reflect a more complicated and shattered vision of the world. In these magisterial weavings of light, movement, and shadow, the presence of mankind can be detected, shored up by the uncompromising massiveness of our architecture. Some buildings mutate into one another, while others buttress the open sky.

In Exploratorium 3 (3005), the modern world is transported into an oddly medieval landscape where stone structures stand massive and alone against the sky, encompassed by an endless row reproduced by Kidd repeat themselves over and over again, it is from this very repetition that the works in question derive all their power, giving one the sensation of being drawn back to the future. In Brooklyn Bridge (2006), Kidd once again distorts our mind’s-eye expectations, instead presenting us with a labyrinthine network of platforms and causeways all of which lead back to the fantastical bridge itself, leaning forward as if to greet us. This twisted symbol of the Industrial Revolution, like so many others in “Fictional Realities,” could easily have sprung from the mind of Lewis Carroll, transforming the once largest suspension bridge in the world into an implausible wonderland of lightness, immateriality, and airborne wire cables.

Far quirkier still is Exploratorium 2 (2005), whose distinctly organic feel can be attributed to huge foreboding columns that soar upwards only to turn back on themselves, conjoined at various intervals against an alien-looking night sky. While this print is entirely architectural in nature, it also exhibits a naturalistic sensibility, softening the forms into an oddly comic masterstroke. One could even argue that Kidd’s eye is not unlike David Lynch’s, forever on the lookout for those absurd elements that insinuate themselves everywhere, in a blade of grass, a lawn sprinkler, or, in this case, the Chrysler Building, Palm Springs, Crystal City, and along the Thames.

FEBRUARY 5, 2007



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