On February 25, 2005, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present Marco Brambilla’s video installation Cyclorama, 1999. Cyclorama features views from nine revolving rooftop restaurants in cities across North America—Montreal, New York, New Orleans, St. Louis, Toronto, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The work will be on view through 2005.
A veteran filmmaker, Brambilla manipulates time-based work with cinematic precision and cyclical narratives, eliciting both suspense and wonder. In Cyclorama, Brambilla subverts time with the distortion of media, scale, and, consequently, context. Viewed on nine consecutive monitors installed within a custom-built cylindrical room, the videos are synchronized to erode any notion of distance or time zone, in effect merging the cities in a single panoramic skyline. From each rooftop, the viewer sees empty dining tables that rotate against a steel and glass wall as familiar landmarks become increasingly visible. Standing inside the installation, one experiences the city as a flat, serene landscape divorced from the chaos of urban reality. The strange whimsy of the spinning rooms is a wonderful and striking contrast to the quiet detachment of the moving snapshots they frame.
Born in Milan in 1960, Brambilla worked as a commercial and feature film director before turning to video and photography in 1998. His films include Demolition Man (1993), Excess Baggage (1997), and Pure Evel (2005). Brambilla has exhibited in international venues such as the Kunsthalle, Switzerland; Henry Urbach Architecture, New York; and Kenny Shachter/ROVE and 24/7 in Los Angeles. He currently lives and works in New York City.
Brambilla will be at the Museum for an artist talk at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7 in the Phyllis Wattis Theater.