Service of the goods (2013)

Installation at Scrap Metal Gallery (Toronto) as part of the Images Festival

A discussion between Jean-Paul Kelly and Chris Stults, Associate Curator of Film/Video, Wexner Center for the Arts

“The Public Square: Three Recent Works by Jean-Paul Kelly" by Michael Sicinski in Cinema Scope Magazine (Issue 59, Summer 2014)

Service of the goods reviewed by Sam Cotter in C Magazine (Issue 119, Autumn 2013)

Service of the goods (video) is selected by Sicinski as one the best “slept-on” films of 2013 and one of his top ten films of the year.

Movement in Squares and Figure-ground are reviewed by Genevieve Yue in Reverse Shot.

Figure-ground series.

Inkjet prints on computer paper, masking tape, Oriented strand board (OBS), gouache and graphite on paper, 5 pairs.

Figure-ground (Srebrenica), 2013. Gouache and graphite on paper, 11 x 17 inches.

Figure-ground (Rick Donovan), 2013. Gouache and graphite on paper, 17 x 11 inches.

Figure-ground (Ross Laycock), 2013. Gouache and graphite on paper, 17 x 11 inches.

Figure-ground (Mom's Dad's airplane crash, Karachi), 2013. Gouache and graphite on paper, 11 x 17 inches.

Figure-ground (Gaza), 2013. Gouache and graphite on paper, 11 x 17 inches.

Service of the goods, 2013. Duration: 29:10

Service of the goods is comprised of selected scenes from American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s seminal documentaries on state-run, tax-funded institutions, including Titicut Follies (1967), High School (1968), Law and Order (1969), Hospital (1970), Basic Training (1971), Juvenile Court (1973) and Welfare (1975). While creating shot-by-shot reproductions of each chosen scene, including accompanying subtitled dialogue, Wiseman’s representational strategy–his overall production and editing process–is, itself, evoked as an institution subject to the same means observation and expression.

“In looking out on one of the great masters of documentary cinema and his body of work which set out to examine the failure of institutions, Kelly simultaneously re-engages a critique about the social safety nets in our society today and questioning the efficacy of documentary representation.” – Pablo de Ocampo, 2013 Flaherty Seminar Catalogue

“This film is not only a bang-on piece of filmic analysis; it also poses fundamental questions about the representation of social institutions, and those stuck inside of them.” – Michael Sicinski, Keyframe Magazine, “The Best of the Rest: 2013’s most inexplicably slept-on films.”

Figure-ground, 2013. Duration: 4:46

Figure-ground features hand-painted cels filmed in receding distance with a multi-plane camera. Each scene is derived from photographs published online and depicting the aftermath of a death associated–tangentially or directly–with the 2008 global financial crisis: the gruesome drug-debt murder of a child in an economically depressed region; the suicide of Bernie Madoff’s son; an untreated, mentally distressed Iraq-war veteran freezes to death in a mountain stream after his manhunt for murder; the murder of Treyvon Martin; the cyanide suicide of a former Wall Street trader in court. The body of each individual is initially excised from the scene and later replaced by abstractions in regular form–a coloured square and an audio tone.

Movement in Squares, 2013. Duration: 12:43

Movement in Squares is a two-channel video comprised of three documentary sources: video appropriated from a Florida-based foreclosure broker who documents the condition of bank-owned properties at the time of their repossession; studio recordings that document retrospective exhibition catalogues of painter Bridget Riley; voice-over narration from filmmaker David Thompson’s 1979 profile of Riley’s work for the Arts Council of Great Britain.

“In conversation on the screen, these elements put forth questions about representation, ethics and perception in how we look at images.” – Pablo de Ocampo, 2013 Flaherty Seminar Catalogue