Chen Xiaoyun’s “Faint” at MC

This is Chen Xiaoyun’s very impressive first solo show in the U.S. Xiaoyun shows two video works as well as a series of photographs that aren’t just stills, but separate and arresting images on their own. While the main piece is a four-channel video installation, the smaller video piece steals the show. LASH is a slightly terrifying video in which images of a naked man dragging tree branches in the dark flash like a strobe light to the hypnotic sound of a cracking whip. Interspersed are images of a white horse, lightning, a suburban street, a serpent. Xiaoyun seems to play with conventions of cinematic horror and creates his own sort of Blair Witch Project. The larger installation, Several Moments Extending to the Night II, is set to the soundtrack of a fast-moving train, images of which are mixed with footage of a man being dragged by a chain through the grass, or a man crawling in a suit, all indicating this unresolved, random anxiety-provoking relationship between man and the speed of the modern world. The soundtrack never lets up, creating a sense of speed that is persistent enough to become oppressive.

6086 Comey Ave., L.A. | | (323) 939-3777 | Through July 14

Karin Apollonia Müller’s “Edges” at Karyn Lovegrove Gallery

Karin Apollonia Müller’s show is the first in town that includes images of the recent Griffith Park fire. Two ethereal shots of smoke clouds in the sky are simply gorgeous; were it not for the helicopter in one signifying that all is not well, they’d be downright heavenly. This feeling of unrest is a focal point in Müller’s crisp photos, which all capture the bleached-out and unique quality of light found only in our strange metropolis. In Laguna, it takes one a moment to realize that a landscape shot of the Laguna Hills is actually showing homes that have fallen in a landslide, while in another there are burned trees that have just been cut down in a canyon to promote new growth after a forest fire. Several depict car accidents or the aftermath on a highway. In Müller’s moments, everything is at once too pale and still to ever be all right.

6150 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. | | (323) 525-1755 | Through June 23

More images from this week's art picks and stories.

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