Na Mira: Bad Ground
2271 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018
CUT TO a wide shot flashing the corner of the room we’re all in. Anamorphic painting originates in the Ming Dynasty to view eros only at a reflected angle then develops in the Renaissance to remember to die. Mori, in Latin meaning death, in Japanese meaning forest, in Mongolian meaning horse. Apparatus bleeds into animacy, contaminates intimacy.
INT. THEATER I carry the camera, so Hanna Hur plays us. She moves through the fourth wall at 24 frames per second towards Theresa Hak Kyung Cha inside the cinema’s screen, inside the 1980 script of White Dust From Mongolia. Cha describes two narratives becoming one superimposition in time. This version emerges in transit.
INT. BODY I’m not looking for a still, maybe it’s volume. Double projecting the 16mm films obliquely onto silver halide atoms in a red room, a heavy metal blooms. I wash the latent image of the latent film of the late artist in acid, set it with bone, burning. It doesn’t look anything like it did then or yesterday or today. The migration is errant, cellular, disintegrating. It’s still a motion picture. When I ask at the photo place if the chemistry always makes these shapes they say No, never.
FADE TO alchemy’s axis across the negative landscape, the mirror sees, situates, severs. It’s not her face but the cube’s, denuded. Remember red is the first color to disappear from sight. The theater exits the dark room. Descending the electromagnetic ladder, the visible waves are tailed by heat then radio. Sometimes when I plug in the latex tube to the microphone to the projector, 1540 AM plays in Korean. I have to hold it with both hands in a kind of prayer, breathing. When I ask about it at the film place they say You have bad ground. The frequencies don’t return to Earth, they start making their own loops. We’re beginning at the end, in medias res.
Na Mira’s time-based work uses autobiography, chance, and perception to address larger political histories. Mira’s practice is episodic and embodied, with past and present works bleeding into one another. Mira’s latest presentation includes her first 16mm film inspired by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's final work, unfinished at the time of Cha’s murder in 1982. Mira also presents a new series of silver gelatin prints, produced by projecting and overlapping the two channels of the film in the darkroom. The photographs fade over time, a memento mori that reflects the fugitive nature of memory, diaspora, and performance. A book of Mira’s collected research published in 2022 by Wendy’s Subway is available at the gallery.
Na Mira (b. 1982) lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions of her works have been presented at Whitney Biennial 2022, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Company Gallery, New York; and Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, amongst others. Upcoming solo presentations include Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson; and Art Sonje Center, Seoul. Mira’s works are in the public collections of Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center.