In 2007 Ryan Trecartin made his breakthrough with a rousing presentation at the New Museum in New York. Since then he has been raising steadily in stardom. With his exhibition in the autumn of 2011 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, his work has also established its place in the old art world.
Trecartin videos are not easy to interpret. The images tumble over each other at an impossible tempo, the characters and the sets are sucked into a whirlwind of transformation and there is no distinction between animation, drawing and film. We enter a world where fiction and reality are completely at one with each another, and everything and everyone finds themself caught in this sudden flow. A while back I talked about the work of Trecartin with my friend Frie Maas (see Digital painting). In response, he sent me this text, which I like to quote here:
Problems such as war and hunger are abscent, the same goes for ideologies or ideals. Material wealth is obvious. We see a world of individuals where everyone seems to be primarily concerned with themselves. Trecartin shows how people in an inherently meaningless world relate to each other. There is no plot, nor storyline, and the result is so fragmented that it is barely coherent. Here within gestures, facial expressions and intonation, are cartoonishly schematized and made visible as cultural codes. The issued statements almost exclusively show, self-constructed meanings, personal views, opinions or experiences. If there is to be spoken of exchange, thus more than just successive statements, then it appears to be on the basis of accidental similarities or differences.
In the videos of Trecartin this creates an intense and loaded feeling. Whilst he celebrates a festival of sound and image on the surface, the depths draws a clear picture of our current human condition.