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Skyscraper Souls

New Video & Photography by John Pilson

February 02 through April 15, 2007

Skyscraper Souls

artist(s)John Pilson

John Pilson reconsiders the banal, daily routines of office workers and city dwellers as quixotic deviations into sublime moments. The exhibition's title, Skyscraper Souls, refers to a 1932 film about an entrepreneur who will let nothing stand in his way of acquiring a 100-story office building. Similar to the film, Pilson's videos relate to the interwoven lives and aspirations of a variety of people working in large buildings in the big city.

Investigating the connection between the individual and built environment, Pilson's videos challenge our expectations of human behavior in anonymous corporate and urban settings. Whether filming a woman playing the accordion in an office bathroom or panning over sparkling concrete at night, Pilson subverts ordinary experiences in restrained surroundings by infusing them with wonder and absurdity.

Pilson's video protagonists engage in a variety of non-work behaviors that reinterpret buildings and offices as sites for fantasy and play. Occasionally bursting into song in front of an elevator or playing a round of handball in the hallway, Pilson's "liberated employees" perform for the architecture they inhabit. The architecture, in turn, plays the role of an ambivalent audience viewing these seemingly inappropriate acts. In photographs, the architecture takes the lead role, capturing psychological portraits of physical spaces.

Born in 1968, John Pilson lives and works in Manhattan, the site of his video-based enchantments of office spaces and urban life. Receiving an M.F.A. in Photography from Yale University, Pilson has held numerous national and international exhibitions, including, Greater New York, P.S.1/MoMA (2000),New York; Plateau of Mankind, Venice Biennale (2001); and The Americans-New Art, Barbican Gallery, Naples. A monograph on the artist entitled Interregnawas recently published by Hatje Cantz in 2006.

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