From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program
Artist: Chris Larson
November 17, 2006-January 7, 2007
On September 15, 1896, a reported 50,000 spectators gathered in a town just north of Waco called Crush, Texas in anticipation of the planned collision of two 32-ton locomotives, each pulling seven boxcars, at a combined speed of 120 miles per hour. Finally, at 5:10 pm, the trains, whistles wailing, engines gleaming, careened toward each other. As the crowd cheered, the locomotives met in a thunderous crash before settling in a silent heap. Simultaneously both engines’ boilers exploded. Chunks of metal flew through the air, killing and injuring spectators. Regardless, the Crush Collision was considered a success. Ragtime composer Scott Joplin was among the spectators that day. The crash inspired him to write The Great Crush Collision March.
In the tradition of early American storytellers, Chris Larson spins yarns. Rather than words and music however, he tells his tales through large-scale sculpture and film. At the center of the exhibition is Crush Collision, his fourth film with producer Jason Spafford and sound designer Alex Oana. The twelve-minute film, which takes place in a house floating on the water, is a complex examination of the dualities of human existence. Accompanying the film is the 16 x 14 foot, 2-story house that spent the winter frozen in the lake where the film was made.
Larson’s collisions from America’s past, present, and future cultures present a conversation among different and similar worlds. Where people, ideals, thoughts, race, beliefs, art, religions and politics are constantly colliding, Larson smashes them together to see what unfolds.