Bogdan Perzyński: I Will Have Gold

Meg Smith
July 27, 2012

Bogdan Perzyński’s I Will Have Gold (2011), at Kirk Hopper Fine Arts, possesses a raw authority. In a twenty-four minute single-channel HD video, Perzyński documents the successive reactions of three different women as he directs them to curse unceasingly at the camera. Operating in the gap between spontaneous communication and performance, Perzynski uses an unscripted method of production to maintain a pretense of reality, even as the women he films unintentionally evoke issues of gender and identity.

Bogdan Perzyński, I Will Have Gold (still), 2011; HD video projection, color, stereo, 24:05m; image courtesy Kirk Hopper Fine Arts and Bogdan Perzyński.

The artist records the three women in a setting reminiscent of an actor’s audition tape. Perzyński remains behind the lens, hidden from the viewer for the length of the video while his subjects stand in front of a sterile backdrop and an unmoving, unblinking camera. Viewers hear Perzyński ask the women to envision that he is the camera before directing them to spew obscenities at it while briefly pausing between each single word and phrase. Perzyński separates each woman’s take with flashes of black and a short high-pitched beep.

I Will Have Gold is almost entirely improvisational, and Perzyński’s subjects respond to the ordeal of the screen test with various personal styles. The video begins with Woman #1 casually conversing with Perzyński, completely unaware that the artist already began filming. It is apparent by the tone of their exchange that she and the artist are acquaintances. Woman #1 exposes personal insecurities to the viewer immediately after she begins cursing. She concentrates almost obsessively on the enunciation of one particular word and regularly seeks Perzyński’s approval of her performative style. Woman #2 is much younger than the previous subject, but also seems to have a friendly relationship with the artist. Although Woman #2 also recites a sequence of horrible words, she speaks with a pleasant voice and possesses an air of calm. In her performance, obscenities appear innocuous rather than offensive. The last subject Perzyński records, Woman #3, delivers the most aggressive rant. It is evident through her rapport with Perzyński that she too knows the artist; however, she approaches her role in the video with a greater level of seriousness than Perzyński’s other subjects. Perhaps she is professional actress. Although she initially gives the impression of confidence with her performance, when Perzyński asks her “If that was all?” she interprets his incitation as criticism and begins shutting down emotionally.

Bogdan Perzyński, I Will Have Gold (still), 2011; HD video projection, color, stereo, 24:05m; image courtesy Kirk Hopper Fine Arts and Bogdan Perzyński.

I Will Have Gold is not immediately comprehensible. Although Perzyński’s subjects each successfully deliver outbursts of profanities, the repetition and lack of true provocation dilutes the common meaning of each word. Instead, Perzyński creates a heightened sense of vulnerability perceptible in each woman’s take. The content and tone of the video undoubtedly broaches issues of gender and power, and one cannot help but equate Perzyński’s interaction with the women as rendering a relationship of power in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze.

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