Maria Nordman FILMROOM: SMOKE, 1967–Present

Maria Nordman FILMROOM: SMOKE, 1967–Present
September 4, 2011–January 15, 2012
Art of the Americas Building, Plaza Level

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is pleased to present Maria Nordman’s FILMROOM: SMOKE, 1967 as part of its Pacific Standard Time exhibitions. Nordman is internationally known as one of the most significant artists to emerge from Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s. FILMROOM: SMOKE is one of her earliest artworks, made at the time she left UCLA graduate school.

“Nordman is so often categorized as part of LA’s so-called ‘Light and Space’ movement, but in fact her work comes from a completely different—and appropriately Los Angeles inspired—point of view, demonstrated not only by her numerous projects in Europe and the U.S. in the last decade, but also by this early landmark artwork,” said Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director.


A single room silent double projection that incorporates a real chair and documents two actors interacting with the same chair on the beach at the ocean’s edge, FILMROOM: SMOKE is founded on the relationship with the film camera and the eye of viewer and artist. The side-by-side projections, divided by a wall, describe two distinctly different camera compositions: one largely active and detailed, and one more still and general. The filmic picture plane is literally aligned with the meeting of earth and water along the L.A. coastline. Comprising a holistic vision, the film also depends on the fire of the sun for light; the air is visualized in the breath of the actors smoking a cigarette, which harmonizes with the breathing of ocean waves that lap at the actors on the chair next to a huge rock on the shoreline. The sound of the waves and human breath are visually conjured. The actual presence of the real chair from the film in the gallery in front of, and part of, one projection brings the moving image into the real space of the viewer and overlaps the original experience of the actors as the film’s first viewers with our subsequent experience in the room.