At the Venice Biennale, Richard Phillips showed two video portraits featuring two of our generations most controversial beauties – Lindsey Lohan and Sasha Grey.  Grey was shot on location at the Lautner Chemosphere House off Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles (see above).  The exhibition, “Commercial Break”, was presented by the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Venice, Italy, June 1 – 5, 2011.

We connected with Phillips to discuss the new work and his attraction to the subjects. He also touches on his new interest in motion portrait.

Our Q&A with Richard Phillips comes after the jump.

CR: Tell me about the films you’re showing in Venice. What attracts you to the individual subjects?

RP: My attraction to Lindsay and Sasha as collaborators was that they are both young actors from very different contexts who are at transformational points in their lives  and have chosen to commit their lives to their art.

CR: Would you say you are attracted to fleeting beauty? Or, perhaps figures that implicitly waver in traditional, accepted beauty.

RP: Both of my collaborators’ beauty are universally acknowledged as having extraordinary beauty that goes far beyond the surface of their  mediated images. I am engaged by their independent qualities that are derived from the power they possess when their beauty is combined with their talent and intellect.

CR: What about medium… what do you feel you can capture with film that you might not in paint or photograph?

RP: This new form of motion portrait   that is possible with film allows one to evade conventions of still portraiture, static composition, and material limitations. Movement, light, and sound combine to create a context for an active emotional connection. The commercial length format addresses shared attention deficit and creates opportunities for connecting to the subjects in a time frame we are programmed to accept.

CR: How do you view pop art now?

RP: It is a 50+ year old strategy that has little or nothing to do with the increasing  complexities faced by contemporary societies. It is term valuable for classifying a period long past and like Impressionism before it most people will completely forget or have little access to understanding it’s original intent.

CR: If you could only pick one muse, who would it be?

RP: I consider the work I’ve done with these actors collaborations that affirm the choices that they made independently to work freely with me on an art work. The idea of a muse deliberately subordinates and objectifies an individual so that they may be used for hierarchically imposed exploitation.

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