Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 7:30pm
Tony Conrad's Paul Sharits: Prescription and Collapsed Temporality + Paul Sharits's Razor Blades

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

To mark the publication of Paul Sharits: Catalogue Raisonné 1962–1992, Light Industry presents a rare screening of the artist's 1966 double projection Razor Blades, as well as a recreation of a lecture on Sharits given by Tony Conrad, which consists of nine separate channels of audio played simultaneously.

"On October 5, 1976, I delivered a talk on Paul Sharits's work as a component of his retrospective exhibition at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo.

I placed nine cassette players on the edge of the stage...In addition, I delivered a live commentary that concerned Sharits's use of, and references to, scores. Sharits's films were frequently scored, sometimes frame by frame; and some of his films were presented as 'Frozen Film Frames,' having been cut into strips and annealed between Lucite sheets. The 'Frozen Film Frames' were legible as scores. Sharits also made drawings out of scores by classical composers, which he 'colored in' by following the lines of the scored music sheets.

I contended that the score served in all its senses as an armature for understanding the cross-relations between austere formal structures and starkly underscored erotic messages that are persistent in Sharits's work. The scissored tongue of T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968), the copulating figures in Piece Mandala / End War (1966), the sadomasochism of Rapture (1987), and endless less direct figures of erotic violence are keyed to a chiasmatic exchange between disciplined structure and erotic discipline. The score (as in musical score), as a structure of instrumentality and instruction, similarly invokes both authoritarian control and sublime austerity. The score (as in incision or scratch line) is also a physical record of an act of purposeful violation. And the term score is also used with some connotation of arrogation to speak of a sexual exploit.

The two contesting elements that define the space of Sharits's work continued to dominate over the following decades.

A score is also a measure of competitive success or indifference—as in 'Who's keeping score?' Though this sense was not put into play during my 1976 presentation, Sharits did regard himself as a competitor in the game of art; he was perennially frustrated that the art world largely passed him over during his lifetime.

The splintered and indirect dialogism of my 'talk' was designed to interrupt the authoritarian disposition that I found in Sharits's work; to distance me from my audience and my critical modality from its object."

- TC

Razor Blades, Paul Sharits, 1966, 16mm double projection, 25 mins

“Projection Instructions: two 1000’ reels to be projected side by side onto one very large screen or two normal size screens / projectors should be identical, same focal length lenses, same intensity bulbs, detachable speakers / each reel has its own soundtrack and both should be played full volume and full treble / detachable speakers must be placed one on each side of the room, half way between screen and projectors, for stereo effect / synch ‘left’ and ‘right’ reels by aligning title / credits which appear at beginning of each reel / proper reels for ‘right’ and ‘left’ projectors indicated on head leaders.”

- PS

Copies of the publication will be available at the event. Edited by Susanne Pfeffer for Sharits's restrospective at the Fridericianum in 2015, the monograph features contributions by Paul Chan, Tony Conrad, Birgit Hein, Bruce Jenkins, Branden W. Joseph, Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, Helen Marten, Jonas Mekas, Susanne Pfeffer, Melissa Ragona, and Paul Sharits.

Co-hosted by Greene Naftali.

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.