For its inaugural exhibition, Broadway is pleased to present Lore, a solo show by artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka. Centered around a 16mm looping film projection and including a suite of photographs hand-inscribed with related texts, the show succinctly encapsulates Hopinka’s ambitious and wide-ranging practice. Harnessing modes of filmmaking from feature-length non-fiction to skewed documentary to poetic experimental reveries, the artist enlists image, music and language in penetrating the spectral condition of a perpetual afterlife that infuses contemporary Indigenous existence—and that this medium so effectively evokes in his hands.
The titular film, which depicts the artist arranging and rearranging cut-up photographs on an illuminated overhead projector, takes its cue from Nostalgia (1971) the seminal experimental film by Hollis Frampton. In Frampton’s film, the narrator intones anecdotes relating to his artist friends and romantic entanglements as we watch photographs burn to ash atop a hotplate. With LoreHopinka dramatically expands on this format, pushing the voice and image connections further afield into the landscape and into a more complex and poetic personal narrative that engages performative collage in real-time. As the photographs accumulate on the overhead projector, we see and hear a band rehearsing a melancholy song that slowly builds into an insistent, casually beautiful version of Bo Didley’s Heart O Matic Love—added layers of specificity and broader raw emotion that intercut the artist’s oblique voiceover of a dissolving romance.
As a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and a fluent speaker of Chunk Wawa and active in Indigenous language revitalization, a consistent thread of translation, subtitling and multi-lingual voiceover runs through Hopinka’s practice as a whole. The slippage of meaning across these modes of expression, as well as the ways in which text and poetry (written, spoken and sung) remain in subtle friction with the imagery of the films and photographs is at the vital core of this work. The yearning incantations of the individual are overlapped with the specific political realities of a community and manifested with a strategy of presentation that straddles definitions of art, cinema and literature.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with The Green Gallery, Milwaukee.
Sky Hopinka (b. 1984) received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the 2018 FRONT Triennial. He was a guest curator at the 2019 Whitney Biennial and was a part of Cosmopolis #2 at the Centre Pompidou. He was awarded jury prizes at the Onion City Film Festival, the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, the New Cinema Award at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists in the Emerging artist category for 2018. He was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2018- 2019 and Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019, and is 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. Sky Hopinka: Disfluencies is on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art through November 15, 2020 and Sky Hopinka: Centers of Somewhere, organized by Lauren Cornell, opens October 17, 2020 at Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.