Johanna Billing | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Johanna Billing


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At first I disliked Johanna Billing's music video You Don't Love Me Yet, which shows a group of Swedish amateurs performing a sappy version of Roky Erickson's 80s song. Following music-video convention, she intercuts group shots with solo views and intersperses high and low angles. But she also edits with real subtlety, avoiding predictability by not cutting to a new shot on every new verse and only rarely syncing cuts to the beat. The video starts with just a few musicians in the studio, but gradually more appear--the first soloist is later seen singing in a group. This creates a sense that the song's message about loneliness is gathering adherents, a feeling supported by the melancholy expressions of the performers and the dirgelike repetition of the title line. Unlike most postmodern appropriators, Billings treats the material she borrows not with irony but sincere affection, and she comes close to making it moving for even a skeptical viewer. At the gallery opening Billing had local musicians perform the song; documentation of that is also on view. Vedanta, 835 W. Washington, through June 5. Hours are 10 to 6 Tuesday through Friday and 11 to 5 Saturday; 312-432-0708.

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