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Passing by, you could easily mistake one of Owen Kydd’s videos for a photograph mounted in a light box. However, his images do actually move, albeit slowly. He refers to such works as “durational videos,” and you have to watch carefully to see the small changes that take place throughout. Mirror Palm, for instance, is completely still, with the exception of the lights of passing cars shining in the reflective surface. The video is part of a recent series of works Kydd made by filming storefront windows on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. He selected found imagery that had already been composed by storeowners, rather than creating it himself. Kydd is fascinated with photographic technology. The first of his durational videos, created in 2006, coincide with the advent of cameras capable of shooting still and moving images. This marked a shift in movie-making as well as a reform in how still images are taken; anyone, but especially an artist like Kydd, could now decide in an instant whether an image wanted to be instantaneous or required further space to unfold over time. Mirror Palm’s imagery borders on kitsch: a mirrored palm tree—a symbol inseparable from the City of Angels—hangs on a piece of pegboard. The palm tree reflects the sign for “Aquariums” on the building across the street, and one additional piece of fake nature, a plastic plant leaf, contributes to the extreme collage-like flatness of Kydd’s image.
Label from For the Love of Things: Still Life, February 27–May 29, 2016