Washington Post, N5, 22 June 2003

At the Biennale. These Finds Are Keepers

Things are Looking up

Blake Gopnik

Dryden Goodwin is one of many younger artists with new work in the Venice Biennale. He's showing a projected colour video titled Above/Below.

A smallish, blacked-out room has one screen on the floor and another overhead.

The bottom screen shows a view down from on high, with a checkerboard Cathedral floor and a few people strolling around it; sometimes they look up to see what's up above their heads.

The screen hung from the ceiling shows a view (the stroller's view, we assume) up into the cathedral's ancient belfry, complete with lovely Gothic windows at the very top.

The ritual and social action in this church is taking place below: Sometimes we glimpse a figure wearing vestments; otherwise it's mostly churchy tourists checking out the scene and architecture.

And the vaulting that we see by looking up closes in that action with an impressive, static heaven made of stone: The cathedral's visitors are clearly much impressed with what they see when they tilt back their heads.

But we art lovers aren't really here or there, not safely among our fellows looking up, nor stately and in heaven looking down. As we shift our gaze from screen to screen, from bottom to top, we float somewhere in between. We are the artist with his video camera, negotiating a middle zone that keeps things spinning.