Abner Preis: The Clown

HMKV Video of the Month

On view 1 – 31 December 2014

In The Clown, Preis adapts the story of a clown narrated on the Charles Mingus jazz album of the same name – and gives it a happy ending. In the video, a clown visibly struggles to please his public; canned laughter underscores the slapstick feel of the situation. What starts out as funny gradually turns into an increasingly bloody spectacle. Set upon pleasing his public to the bitter end (which doesn’t arrive after all), the clown does not shrink from inflicting injury on himself. While the viewer’s laughter gets stuck in his throat, the audience in the video laughs on.

Abner Preis (*1975 in Hadera, Israel) grew up in Philadelphia (USA), studied at the city’s Tyler School of Fine Arts (BFA), and is currently working towards his MFA at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem (NL). The artist is known for his interactive public performances and mixed-media works, a central aspect of which is the medium of ‘storytelling’. Appropriation, surprise, playfulness, participation, and social and political commitment are elements that recur in Preis’s works, which consist of performances, drawings, video, installation, and photography.

Exhibitions and performances: De Kunsthal, Rotterdam; Showroom Mama, Rotterdam; solo presentation at Scope Miami; Museum Jan Cunen, Twent Biennale, Museum Twentsewelle, Dordrechts Museum, IFFR (International Film Festival Rotterdam). Grants: KunstHuis SYB, Museum Quartier Vienna, Foundation B.A.D., Kunst and Complex. In 2010, Preis was nominated for the Illy Prize at Art Rotterdam. He performs internationally on a regular basis, either alone or with his collective ‘The Dogs of Shame.’ Preis lives and works in Rotterdam.

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents current video works by international artists for the duration of one month each – selected by Inke Arns.

Abner Preis
The Clown

NL, 2011, Video, 14:00 Min.

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