For most regular humans, being filmed wandering alone in the woods is the stuff horror films are made of, but for artist Jennifer Elster, it’s the humble premise for a film series that’s endlessly enthralling. Perhaps that’s because Elster isn’t shooting just any ‘ol regular humans. Entitled “IN THE WOODS,” the piece includes Terrence Howard, Alan Cumming, Moby and Questlove and is oft set to the vocalizations of none other than Yoko Ono.
But celebrity aside, Elster’s wood walks present flashes of uncomfortably human moments. Elster herself exudes a raw, intense energy, which in turn urges vulnerability from her subjects. The dialogue stems from organic, emotional interactions with the artist. “The objective isn’t to go in and exploit people’s feelings,” Elster says. “It’s curiosity and trust. For some reason, I think people trust me. I’m very straight up.”
The artist has been working on the series for a decade, but at long last, snippets of “In The Woods” will go on view tonight in a sprawling Tribeca storefront, alongside a wide range of Elster’s work (paintings, photos, installations, performance – you name it). Titled The Retrospective of an Extroverted Recluse, it marks the first time Elster’s work will be shown publically.
We’re pleased to exclusively present a clip featuring one of the artist’s most infamous subjects: actress Paz de la Huerta. Though it’s filmed indoors, it follows a similar premise to the Woods series (loose, intimate, somewhat magical). “I met Paz just from being in New York,” says Elster. “She came into the project wanting to go into the light – to the joyous part of existence. So we did all the work and then she ended up being worried about how dark it was. That was interesting; we did end up getting very close to the light but that excursion was very dark.”
“The Retrospective of an Extroverted Recluse” opens tonight at J.Elster NYC Pop-Up Gallery from 7-10pm at 75 Leonard Street. It’s open to the public Tuesday–Sunday, 12pm-7pm, May 13th-25th
See more of Elster’s videos at channelELSTER.com