You The Better
7 March to 25 April 2015
On 7 March 2015 Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Chelsea location You The Better, an exhibition of work by ERICKA BECKMAN, curated by Piper Marshall.
You The Better features an early film work of the same name. Created in 1983, the film was premiered at the New York Film Festival and shown at The Kitchen in 1984, but never exhibited in New York as a fully developed installation. For this xhibition, Beckman installs the film alongside its props. Choreographed lighting cues highlig t the props and then dim in conjunction with specific points of film. This sequencing exteriorizes the film, extending its gameplay into space.
The film You The Better follows a team of uniformed players as they navigate a gaming world. The team performs a series of play in a game controlled by a mysterious betting entity "the House". While seemingly a game of skill, rules are altered and competitors exchanged, and the film reveals itself as based on mathematics of chance. While players go through the motions, the "House" and "Bettor" are those maneuvering. This structure positions the viewer as the contender, one struggling against a set of rules, a system whose algorithm has been determined in advance and may change at whim. In this film, the odds of gambling frustrate the assumed logic of competitive sports.
In 1983, when Beckman created this film, she committed to making works that deliver their material through the structure of a game, opposing the more traditional narrative. This distinction is continued in later works such as "Cinderella" (1986), as well as "Hiatus" (1999) and "Tension Building" (2014). In making this choice, Beckman addresses how the mathematical chance that is built into all game systems frustrates the self-determinism and will of its players. You The Better and subsequent works shift the terms of social behavior, asking us to consider how gaming is a means of engagement for the ultimate dissemination of social rules.
The exhibition, at 541 West 24 Street, will be on view through 25 April 2015. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com.