FLAX Project

Street Life

Opening Friday, October 10, 7 – 10 pm

Michel Auder / Józef Robakowski: Street Life brings together a selection of films and videos by two avant-garde filmmakers, Michel Auder (b. 1944 in Soissons, France, lives and works in Brooklyn) and Józef Robakowski (b. 1939 in Poznań, lives and works in Łódź, Poland). Los Angeles is a city often defined by its absence of public space and street life. This exhibition reflects on the tensions between the public and the private realms, as well as the individual and the societal through depictions of everyday life. Auder and Robakowski, two pioneers of video art, share a diaristic approach to video making, placing their cameras as tools for meditation between themselves and the world, stationed in the windows of their houses and studios. They act as vigilant observers who document the streets of their respective cities, New York City and Łódź, in the 1970s and 1980s. Explicitly referencing, if not satirizing, the voyeur-istic style of some film noir movies, such as Hitchcock’s Rear Window, the videos in this exhibition convey notions of intimacy, storytelling, and comment on the slings and arrows of the tragic everyday.

Michel Auder grew up in France, where he took part in the radical independent filmmaker group Zanzibar, before moving to New York in 1969, where he became involved with Andy Warhol’s Factory and lived at the Chelsea Hotel for several years. He is a video raconteur who has fervently recorded his life, experiences, and observations on film for over thirty years, and whose work elicits a sense of intimacy paired with the conscious pleasure of looking. Untitled (I Was Looking Back To See If You Were Looking Back At Me To See Me Looking Back At You) (2014) is the edited version of Auder’s filmic diary and archive of visual information, filming the apartment building on the opposite side of the street by night, portraying its inhabitants and events. Filmed from the window of his studio in Brooklyn and in the streets of Chelsea where he then lived, Blind Sex (1983) and Chelsea – Manhattan, NYC (1990) retrace Auder’s everyday living environment and the particular atmosphere of New York in the 1980s.

Józef Robakowski is a Polish artist and filmmaker associated with the avant-garde film movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He co-founded several artistic collectives in Poland and was a student and later a professor at the film school in Łódź. His use of diverse media, photography, video, film, expanded cinema, installation, text and performance, focuses on material experimentation and autonomy from artistic forms and tendencies. In 1978, he began filming a square opposite his building from his kitchen window in Łódź, documenting the various social and political changes that took place there along with the very simple life he could witness. From My Window (1978-99) is a reflection on the individual’s relationship to society, contributing to a better understanding of the political realm of its time. The presence of a narrator, a characteristic of Robakowski’s cinema that he has defined as “personal cinema,” reveals a sense of ironic distance, if not resistance, wry humor and absurdity as the artist comments on the banalities of everyday life in Communist Poland.


Press Links

November 2014 – TERREMOTO – Michel Auder and Józef Robakowski at Fahrenheit, Los Angeles, California, USA

January 2015 – FLASH ART – Auder and Robakowski at Fahrenheit, Los Angeles

March 2015 – ARTFORUMMichel Auder/Józef Robakowski