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John Kelly The Dying Game

John Kelly The Dying Game

March 22, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Film sequences by Anthony Chase for live performance works by John Kelly 1984–1993
Video works by John Kelly 2000–2014

The heightened realities of life and death have consistently informed John Kelly’s performance works. Beginning his career in the clubs of New York’s East Village, this proclivity for the grand gesture and epic consequence was exhibited in short performances such as The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (1981), Orpheus and Eurydice (1981), Death of Marat (1984), Narcissus (1983), Death In Dallas (1983, about the Kennedy assassination), St. George Killed the Dragon (1985), and The Forces of Destiny (1983).

As his career developed, he continued to create more complex works based on similar themes. These gestures were also informed by the loss of a lover in 1982 to the AIDS epidemic. Loss and struggle affected the community in which he worked, informing Kelly’s choice of subject matter while addressing issues of life and death both directly and metaphorically.

Kelly’s early collaborations with filmmaker Anthony Chase resulted in a significant body of work, creating film sequences as 8mm and 16mm projections for his live performance works. Most of these have not been seen publicly since their premiere. Also included in the program are recent video works by Kelly.

Film sequences by Anthony Chase for live performance works by John Kelly 1984-1992

PASS THE BLUTWURST, BITTE (1984) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘The Death of Egon Schiele’, 2:30 B&W Super 8mm film

DIARY OF A SOMNAMBULIST (1985) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘Party’ and ‘Transformation Scene’, 5:30 B&W Super 8mm film

GO WEST JUNGER MANN (1984) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘East German Graffiti Artist Dreams of Rapunzel’ and ‘The Dying Swan’, 3:30 B&W Super 8mm film

FIND MY WAY HOME (1988) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘Do Not Kill Yourself’, 1:50 B&W Super 8mm film

LOVE OF A POET (1990) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘Dream’ and ‘Dirt’, 5:00 B&W Super 8mm film

MAYBE IT’S COLD OUTSIDE (1991) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘Visit to the Doctor’, 2:38 B&W Super 8mm film with hand coloring

DIVINE PROMISCUE (1992) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘Mona Lisa Visits the Graveyard’, 2:00 B&W Super 8mm film

LIGHT SHALL LIFT THEM (1993) Anthony Chase and John Kelly
‘The Audition of Vander Barbette’, 7:00 16mm B&W

Video works by John Kelly 2000–2014

BROTHER (2000) John Kelly
‘This Solid Ground—T Cells’, 3:05 color video with analog animation

MUSE ASCENDING A STAIRCASE (2012) John Kelly
‘The Dying Swan Boy’, 5:30, HD video, color and sound
‘I’m Lost to the World’, 5:02 HD video, color

THE ESCAPE ARTIST (2014) John Kelly
‘You Only Live Twice’, 4:00 HD video, color

Image: Film still from Diary of a Somnambulist (1986). L-R: George M. Carter, Stephen Tashjian (Tabboo!), Philly Abe, George Carstens, Hapi Phace


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