The first publication devoted to the artist's films.
“Paul Sietsema compounds organic and artificial detritus in all his artwork, scavenging in history's wake to identify specific tools of cultural production and foraging for concepts of art promulgated in the words of artists and attitudes of critics. He mines film as a vestige, the medium of the mechanical age, pressing and squeezing its very obsolescence through a contemporary sieve. In so doing, the artist hovers in the switchover between a bodily inscription in the image and a fundamental reconstitution of sight and representation in the matrix of the virtual. Where body stops and image starts is a divide collapsing through a series of innovations and accidents that go back as far as the people of Pompeii trapped in an emulsion that marked their death, but which paradoxically carried forward their image into eternity.”
Sarah Robayo Sheridan
Published on the occasion of the exhibition “Paul Sietsema: Films and Works” at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, July 2–October 12, 2014.
Paul Sietsema (born 1968 in Los Angeles, lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin) has lately been receiving considerable attention for his films and other works. Each specific work by Paul Sietsema can be described as a formalization of the work process — the end phase or perhaps just the suspension of this process—following several years of researching, constructing and layering of the varied, often personally connoted cultural material. Thus, the durational character of films is equaled by the duration of the process of their making—a particular work ethic that informs the work's proper subject, while the motif and medium may vary. Sietsema's drawings and paintings, often realized with the use of idiosyncratic, labor-intensive techniques devised by the artist, usually involve working through existing artifacts, which serve as a starting point for series of material transformations.