Diana Thater: Between Science and Magic
David Zwirner is pleased to present Diana Thater's sixth solo exhibition at the gallery and the New York debut of a major new film work. Adapting its title from anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’s seminal text, The Savage Mind, in which he wrote, "art lies half-way between scientific knowledge and mythical or magical thought," Between Science and Magic fuses the magic of illusionists with the magic of cinema.
An installation comprised of two looped side-by-side projections, Thater's film is based on the iconic image of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. She began by filming the acclaimed magician Greg Wilson, resplendent in a vintage formal top hat and tails, performing this trick alone on a white film stage. Thater then projected that footage onto the screen of the Los Angeles Theater and re-filmed it in the environment of the old movie hall. Built in 1931, this historic theater is one of the last and most ornate movie palaces remaining from the early part of the century. Still standing on Los Angeles's now defunct "theater row," the venerated cinema is a gilded remnant of Hollywood's golden era. The theater is of the same vintage as the magician's style, his costume, the trick, and the grainy film projection. All work together to form an image of "illusion."
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