Too old-school postmodern to be true, Aron Gent and Anthea Behm have troped Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 movie “Australia,” playing with it so hard that reference to their pretext is lost in the play of differences. Gent decided to take a time-lapse color photograph of the flick’s lovemaking scene between Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, who turn into faded-red, aqua and diaphanous white silky swirls and streaks that retain just enough definition to make the paramours resemble ethereal angels. Another kind of high irony is effected and affected by Behm whose video challenges us to listen to and stare at her sitting before a microphone with a cup of water, from which she chugs when she gets dry throat as she drones on describing each scene of Luhrmann’s three-hour romance in the dullest reportorial style; Behm is clear in conversation that she does not expect anyone to hang in for the long haul through her hell of boredom. If for nothing else, we can appreciate Behm’s revival of the endurance test—she went through the exercise non-stop without a text. For Gent, “Australia” disappears into phantasmagoria and, for Behm, into deadening torpor and finally utter banal nonsense that is impossible to follow. Jacques Derrida’s dictum was to exhaust the text to impertinence. No one does that better than Gent and Behm. (Michael Weinstein)
Through November 15 at Concertina Gallery, 2351 N. Milwaukee.