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Debo Eilers Makes Things Uncomfortable

September 13, 2013

What happens when an artist doesn’t speak for himself? In a Tribeca loft, two friends of Debo Eilers discuss his sculpture and performance work, as the artist quietly observes in the background. For this film, Eilers has invited Loryn Hatch, a psychoanalyst, and Bosko Blagojevic, a writer and computer engineer, to meet for the first time and riff on the cultural associations in the hanging sculpture Juice (2011). For Blagojevic, Eilers’s work—uncanny forms made with found objects and layered epoxy—evoke the “restless energy of teenagers.”

For Hatch, Eilers’s performances—murky scenarios in which Eilers and other performers act out the role of the artist—provoke discomfort with their sexually charged themes. In past performance works, Eilers has asked others, such as Kaya, the teenage daughter of a friend, to direct his performances, creating an unsettling power dynamic between older male artist and young female performer. Through the course of being filmed, Blagojevic and Hatch’s conversation becomes both an exploration of the artist’s work and an “outsourced” performance of that conversation in which the the traditional roles of artist and viewer are conflated and questioned.

More information and credits

Featuring the sculptures Juice (2011), Spoogoo (2011), Remaking (2011); the sculptural group Dolly(blue), Dolly(purple), Dolly(orange), Dolly(red), Dolly(yellow) (2012); and the performances KAYA (2010) and Carly (2012).

Credits

Art21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: Lauren Kraus, Nick Ravich & Erik Spink. Sound: Nick Ravich & Erik Spink. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Stephanie Andreou & Open. Artwork: Debo Eilers. Thanks: Bosko Blagojevic, John Burkhart, Courtney Childress, Loryn Hatch, Jane Jo, Candice Madey & On Stellar Rays. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Debo Eilers

Debo Eilers was born in 1974 in Texas, and lives and works in New York. Eilers’s multifaceted practice includes sculpture, video, collaborative installations, and interactive performances. Employing references to children’s games, toys, and characters, Eilers is interested in sculpture as an object that’s constantly redefined by its context and interaction with an audience, as opposed to fixed piece in a gallery.