Americas

Miljohn Ruperto
Janus

Miljohn Ruperto’s high-definition video Janus takes its name from the two-faced Roman god of duality and transitions, of beginnings and endings, gates and doorways.He is usually depicted with two faces as he looks both forward and backward, to the future and the past. The video, which is deftly animated in collaboration with Aimée de Jongh, presents a close-up of a dying “duck-rabbit,” a vivified version of an ambiguous illustration made popular by the Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations.  One’s attention shifts between seeing a duck and a rabbit, prompted by the animal’s movements and sounds. Its red eyes, wounded body, and belabored breathing suggest the end of life. Just as it appears to take its last breath, however, it inhales again, teetering on the precipice. As the video continues its unceasing loop, a resolution is withheld. In this way, Ruperto makes a connection between the ambiguity of visual perception and the paradox of life and death as embodied by this fragile animal in its final moments.

Miljohn Ruperto (b. 1971, Manila, Philippines, and lives and works in Los Angeles) is a cross-disciplinary artist, working in photography, cinema, performance, and digital animation. His work refers to historical and anecdotal occurrences, and speculates on the nature of assumed facts and the construction of truth. Ruperto received his MFA from Yale University in 2002 and his BA in Studio Art from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999.