Leigh Ledare film premiere at the Art Institute is both awful and spellbinding

Friday, 10 November 2017, 11:40:19 PM. Leigh Ledare at the Art Institute is both awful and spellbinding
Sometimes the most awful artworks are also the best. “The Plot,” an exhibition by Leigh Ledare up at the through the end of the year, is just that kind of work. It’s about nothing and everything. I couldn’t tear myself away from it, and I felt sick afterward. The show premieres a film called “The Task,” plus a related installation. “The Task” runs two hours and presents the results of a three-day group relations conference organized by Ledare in Chicago this past spring. It owes its name and structure to the Tavistock Method, an approach pioneered by the British psychoanalyst Wilfred R. Bion, who in the late 1940s began to experiment with the notion that groups are greater than the sum of their parts. The task of a conference is to study group structures by studying itself: how authority is invested in leaders by others, the covert processes in operation, the problems encountered. Ledare’s conference brought together 28 participants, 10 psychologists trained in the method and three silent observers, most of whom sit for the duration of the film on white plastic chairs arranged in concentric circles. They appear to form a diverse group socially, sexually, racially, economically, professionally, generationally and temperamentally. The members spend their time discussing their own behavior as it happens: analyzing one another’s positions and comments, talking over and silencing and misunderstanding each other, defending themselves and others, all while being palpably influenced...Read more
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