Aïda Ruilova

June 16, 2009 - September 27, 2009



In her expressive and rhythmic films and videos, Aïda Ruilova deftly manipulates sound and expression and her fascination with horror movies always hovers near the surface. Her more recent, longer works take her gothic, B-movie style further with short narratives that are never fully resolved and always leave us wanting more. For her Hammer Projects exhibition in the Video Gallery, Ruilova will produce a new film or video in Los Angeles as part of her Hammer residency.



Dreams and nightmares often leave a vivid impression in our memory, but describing them can be very difficult. Although we know exactly what the feeling was, the plot is fuzzy, and the details fade into one another. Imagination supplements their daylight reconstruction. Such is the nature of Aïda Ruilova’s short films and videos.

Most of Ruilova’s earlier videos are less than a minute long. Like haiku, they aren’t narrative, but they concisely illuminate a situation. Shots of lone young women or men gesturing obsessively or keening idiosyncratic sounds or words in corridors, basements, stairs, or cellars are broken down into short sequences of a second or less. The editing—cognizant of the teachings of structuralist cinema and earlier experimental filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein— employs jump cuts, repetition, and loops. As a result, the characters seem trapped in an evil spell. Although infused with irony, they are in distress, possessed by paranoia, tics, and erratic behavior. For their condition there is no epiphany. In the videos Let’s Go (2004), Uh Oh (2004), Um (2004), Ok (2005), and Alright (2005), each character mutters the work’s titular syllables. The shots are taken from extreme angles, and the camera swings obliquely, abruptly zooming in on details like a chin or a hand or using a simple architectural element to mask part of a subject’s body and obtain an almost abstract composition. Sound is treated as image: short segments—for example, the ringing of a bell or overheard voices—are intercut in syncopated rhythms. So fast is the editing that memory is reduced to single frames and fragments. More


                                                                                                                                            --Sonia Campagnola

Sonia Campagnola is an art critic and curator based in Los Angeles. She is an editor of Flash Art and has written for a variety of publications, including Frieze, Rolling Stone Italia, Art and Auction, and Afterall online.



Hammer Projects is made possible with major gifts from Susan Bay-Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Additional generous support is provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, L A Art House Foundation, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund, and Fox Entertainment Group’s Arts Development Fee. 


Hammer Projects: Aïda Ruilova is presented through a residency at the Hammer Museum. Meet the Eye was produced as part of the Hammer Museum’s Artist Residency Program. The Hammer Museum’s Artist  Residency Program was initiated with funding from the Nimoy Foundation and is supported through a significant grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

Special thanks to Maximum Entertainment and Isolated Ground for their generous support.

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