Review: Hillerbrand+Magsamen, 'House/Hold' 

****1/2
Hillerbrand+Magsamen, still from "Accumulation"
  • Hillerbrand+Magsamen, still from "Accumulation"

Indianapolis Art Center, Frank M. Basile Exhibition Hall; through Feb. 12, 2012

In their artist's statement for House/Hold, Houston-based husband and wife artist duo Hillerbrand+Magsamen explain that it takes real strength “to admit the ambivalence and contradiction” (of suburban life, in their case); “to bravely question life, and then to go on and recommit, in spite of it.” That battle is played out in their video art; their simultaneous indictment and celebration of suburban life is not escapism, but a coming to terms with a sort of reality that many can doubtless relate to.

In “Accumulation,” which is a highlight of the show, a garage’s worth of banal, “useful” household items are stacked upon each other. The commingled objects end up resembling a junk heap from which the artists literally escape at the conclusion of the video by climbing out of a hatch in the roof. The video is flawlessly executed, in terms of editing and cinematography; the use of fog and light give it a dreamy feel.

The dualities of happiness/angst, familial closeness/isolation, male/female and conformity/individuality are all focal points in their video art. The videos feature the artists and their children, as well as their own home and possessions, lending an unsettling realism to the fantastic situations they present.

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