Elixir I – IV, 2007-2009
Custom software (color, silent), single-channel HD video animation
5 min, loop
Dimensions variable, landscape orientation
Edition of 7
Installation view at Feldman Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR, 2009
The Elixir pieces describe impossible landscapes: cut-crystal bottles bob and toss like buoys in the ocean, beacons bearing potions, poisons, messages, genies. Each bottle contains an animated figure engaged in a repeated, metronomic action. In Elixir I, a woman is rowing; Elixir II, a blindfolded man stumbles to stay upright. Elixir III holds a little girl trying to fly with paper wings; and in Elixir IV, a high diver twists and arcs, while the bottle presses forward in an Antarctic landscape. The highly layered video treatment pays tribute to the 19th century Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky, whose portentous, luminous paintings of tiny ships on huge swells of ocean both mesmerize and terrify the viewer.
“Zurkow plays with motion and fixity, the graticule projecting from its enlightenment centering and creating, drawing out and forth a landscape that never has existed quite: but that may now be describing a new polar circumferencing. And the possibilities of this landscape are also internal, or not seen on official maps.” – Elena Glasberg, notes from The Anthropogenic Landscape and Feminist Art Practice.