Exhibition “Samsara” – Gabriel Lester
This 11’28” video has been exhibited in Chengdu Biennale in 2021.
The video is about a stuntman contemplates the notion of an eternally recurring life and death while trying to find the exit on an endless cyclical journey. A stuntman finds himself realizing he has lived his life endless of times before. As he contemplates the possibility of a life forever recurring, he looks for – and meditates on – the possibility of an exit. Meanwhile, on another plane of existence, in what could either be a parallel world or two of the stuntman’s incarnations, a crow and a bus driver travel through an endless night. They exist in and intermediate state between death and resurrection, and appear like a black hole, absorbing both time and space. Samsara’s main arena is a so-called “Wall of Death”, a large wooden cylinder whereupon cars and motorcycles defy the laws of gravity by driving vertically along a steep wall. Through this visual metaphor the notion of eternal recurrence is envisioned. By use of graphic imagery, with the aid of editing and the juxtaposition of viewpoints and characters, an allegory unfolds. As the characters pass through many states of existence – as is the concept of infinite reincarnation – they also pass-through states of thought and realization. These states are loosely based on the six realms of Samsara. Samsara continues Gabriel Lester’s longstanding fascination with the concepts of cyclical time, destiny, and faith. The film focuses on the notion of eternal recurrence – the repeating cycle of birth, life and death (reincarnation).
Gabriel Lester Amsterdam (1972) is a visual artist and filmmaker. His works consist of spatial installations, video installations, sculptures, performances and short films. Lester’s creations originate from a desire to tell stories and establish contexts and settings that support these stories or propose their own narrative interpretation. His vocabulary is characterized as cinematographic, without necessarily employing film or video as a medium. However, like moviemaking, Lester’s practice has come to embrace and utilize all imaginable media and talent. With emphasis on human existence and experience, his projects aim to sharpen and flex the mind. Open ended, sustaining mystery and without obvious dogma or singular ideas, Lester proposes ways to relate to the world, how it is represented and what mechanisms and components constitute our perception and understanding of it.