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Somewhere in Los Angeles, a movie is being filmed, an actor is speaking words from memory, and a person is hunched over a screen carefully editing moving images using the green screen, a post-production special effects technique that layers on a background that doesn’t physically exist. The conceptual premise of the green screen is the entry point for Kelly Kaczynski’s solo exhibition Here On The Way There, on view through May 26 at Comfort Station in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. It is a building that “originally served as shelter for trolley riders in the late 1900s … that has been defunct for decades,” according to a Kickstarter fundraiser for the station. Much like Terrain Exhibitions in Oak Park, which asks artists to make work around a suburban home, Comfort Station is a curious space that offers artists an opportunity to engage with its history and surroundings.
In her statement, Kaczynski says that she considers the green screen as an “infinite site on an infinite scale in an infinite production.” In this sense, the idea of the green screen as a concept will never get you anywhere directly, much like the internet itself which allows users to travel down a cyber rabbit hole. She applies this concept to the Comfort Station, which was once built as a rest stop for an actual, physical destination. Yet like the green screen and the internet itself, which bear no relationship to space and time other than how long one may spend immersed in their illusions of infinitude, Comfort Station is a non-destination, suggesting that the journey itself may in fact be the destination, and that location is truly optional.
The centerpiece of Kaczynski’s exhibition is a wooden edifice composed of crate-like wooden structures built into and on top of one another, and mostly painted over with neon green. Bare wooden spots remain, offering exposed, raw and unfinished surfaces. The structure is enclosed on either end with completely neon green sheets of wood. Kaczynski slides mirrors inside slits in the structure, yet they do not appear immediately visible to viewers.
Kaczynski’s work is in some ways akin to Sol LeWitt’s “Negative Pyramid” (1997) (on view at Rhona Hoffman Gallery through June 1), who also uses commonplace materials — his are cement blocks, hers are wood and paint. LeWitt suggests an inversion of the pyramid, and a passage to an undetermined endpoint. His work is set apart from Kaczynski’s — LeWitt made this work in 1997, before the internet had assumed a societal omnipresence. Yet both speak to the idea of an end that is nowhere in sight.
Kelly Kaczynski’s Here On The Way There is on view at Comfort Station (2579 North Milwaukee Avenue, Logan Square, Chicago) through May 26.