Making its world premiere in this solo exhibition, interdisciplinary artist Stanya Kahn’s short film No Go Backs (2020) follows teenagers who renounce the world they’re set to inherit and leave the city for the wild.
Shot on Super 16mm film and created with the support of a residency in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio, No Go Backs is an intensely visceral, highly compressed work that begins by following two teens, immersing viewers in fragments of their journey. The pair moves along sites of California’s water wars of the early 1900s—a political conflict over natural resources with still-unfolding consequences—and amid the Eastern Sierra’s monumental landscapes in a haze of adolescent distraction, malaise, and ultimately wonderment. When more kids take off for the wilderness, the film becomes an allegorical epic for an entire generation that must find a new way forward.
Known for experimental videos that play with fiction, reality, humor, pathos, and the uncanny, Kahn visited the Wex in April 2018 to present Stand in the Stream (2011–17). The celebrated film incorporates a mass collection of footage all shot or captured live onscreen by the artist, tracing the arc of her activist mother’s declining health and death and her own role as a parent amid rapidly shifting digital and political landscapes that span online chat rooms, street demonstrations, and her own home.
Kahn’s short, looped animations that use marks, motifs, and characters from her paintings are also on view in our lower lobby.
Above: Stanya Kahn, No Go Backs, 2020
Super 16 mm film transferred to 2K video
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
© 2020 Stanya Kahn