Buster Six // Des Pacio / San José / Costa Rica

Exhibition Text Buster Six

Buster Six begins as a whimsical reference to Buster Keaton’s slapstick comedy, “Buster and the Police.” As is typical of Urs August Steiner’s practice, the idea of ‘found footage’ remains the conceptual underpinning that drives the work. Re-contextualizing elements from film, which can include individual scenes, frames, audio tracks, or aspects of set design and art direction through a process of fragmentation, he looks to interrogate image and sound, time and space, as agents in the cinematic experience.

In this instance, Steiner looks to a moment in the film when Buster lights a cigarette on the burning wick of a bomb. Unlike this tropic scene — built on an intuitive knowledge of chronology, prefixed on anticipation — the artist reframes the possibilities offered by such an suspenseful event. Rather than allowing a sequence to unfold as per our expectation, Steiner provides an immersive scene for the viewer in which time is suspended.

The installation occupies two spaces of the same size within Des Pacio: the first, painted in yellow, has a geometric form burned through with fuses; the second — accessed by a ladder — glitters with hundreds of fairy lights. The viewer’s experience is framed by the juxtaposition of walking through a fixed space that as already been acted upon (the burnt fuse) and peering through to another that is in perennial motion (dancing lights). Temporality is undone; time is turned onto itself.

It is this elusive, ethereal space between what has already happened and what might yet take place — this momentary suspension — that Buster Six sets out to establish.