March 31 – August 13, 2023
Opening March 31 6-8pm
Rudy Lemcke: The Transit of Venus
Commissioned by the Institute for Contemporary Art San José, The Transit of Venus is an installation meant to feel as if the viewer is in a video game with no instructions or controller to navigate their path. It is a game where there is no winning or losing. Rather, the exhibition creates a space that allows the viewer to be on an unsettling threshold between worlds in anticipation of a resolution that never arrives.
The exhibition highlights a video projection based on the Transit of Venus, which happens when Venus passes in front of the bright face of the sun. These transits are among the rarest of observable astronomical events, repeating every 243 years. In the video projection, the yellow sun-like glowing frame is crossed by a red horizontal band of abstract digitally generated animations. A second video loops on a wall monitor that shows the artist walking a tightrope across the frame. Five grid-like paintings span three of the gallery’s walls and are hung in a descending arc resembling the graphics from early 8-bit video games.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing sense of unease and dissatisfaction with the way we work, with what the media are telling us, and with our broken political system. Disillusioned by technology and its utopian promise, we feel caught in a current of history, unable to swim free.
As the artist writes,
“In this strange space, we seem to have been here before. Is this an eternal return slowly coming around, like the cycles of Venus? Perhaps this is the condition of our contemporary age. We are the tightrope walker, our avatar in this game, balancing between the earth and sky, past and future—between finitude and the infinite.”
Rudy Lemcke’s exhibition The Transit of Venus at the ICA San José has been made possible thanks to generous support from the City of San José’s Office of Cultural Affairs; along with significant support from Applied Materials, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; along with additional support from SVCreates. In-kind support has been provided by Kelly Moore Paints.
About Rudy Lemcke:
Rudy Lemcke is a multidisciplinary artist and curator who lives and works in San Francisco, California. He holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Louvain, Belgium and a degree in Web Design and Technology from San Francisco State Multimedia Studies Program where he won the Robert Bell outstanding achievement award.
His artwork has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art; DeYoung Museum, Pacific Film Archive/University Art Museum, Berkeley, California; San Francisco Art Institute / Walter McBean Gallery, SF Camerawork, New Langton Arts, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, University Art Gallery, Stoney Brook University, New York; Grey Art Gallery, New York; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida; The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana; and Musee D’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Canada.