Team Gallery presents a new filmic work by Maria Marshall entitled “When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Cooker,” from the 16th of October through the 14th of November 1998. Team Gallery is located at 527 West 26th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, on the ground floor.
“When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Cooker” uses filmic language to create its basic form. The camera original was shot on 35mm film stock which was then converted to digital information. The work is primarily composed of three repeating shots. Each image shows a two year old boy smoking a cigarette, either in mid-shot or close-up. He sucks on the cigarette as its tip glows, parts his lips inhaling the smoke deeply into his lungs, and blows a perfectly shaped, billowing smoke ring at the viewer. Within twenty seconds of repetitive action, smoke fills the entire frame, providing the point at which the “event” loops. This twenty second loop is in ti mate, inviting and sensual despite the incendiary subject matter. The child invites the viewer’s gaze and returns it unequivocally in what appears to be a disconcerting endorsement of corruption.
The issues addressed and represented are complex: the culture of consumer desire, and, by extension, cancer, child abuse and addictions, are as easily revealed as hidden behind the power of crafted commercial imagery which fosters a scaffolding of beliefs and judgments. Although the content of Marshall’s piece is quite powerful, the formal issues explored are also crucial. The quality of the film stock and the mesmerizing repetition implicates the viewer in a sensual relationship with the child which borders on voyeuristic pedophilia. For those who have been exhausted by the persistence of video in commercial art galleries, this is a special opportunity to view an exemplary display of the medium.
Maria Marshall, an artist who lives and works in London, has never exhibited in the US. The subject in this video was her son, Jacob Blue, aged two years two months. When asked about his aspirations, he answered “When I grow up I want to be a cooker”. What he actually meant was that he wanted to be a cook, however, limited by his knowledge of language, he could not express the desire more clearly.
For further information and/or photographs, please call 212.279.9219. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
The artist and the gallery would like to thank the British Council, Circa, 8811 Ltd, Sacha Lehfreund, Simon Miller, Laurie Castelli and Peter Rauter for their help in the completion of this project.