• Artist
    Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont
  • Title
    Ever Higher
  • Date of Production
    2012
  • Medium
    film (still), 11:03mins
  • Dimensions
  • Credit Details

Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont: Ever Higher


Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Sunday, July 07, 2013, 6:00 PM - 7:00 AM

Lydiard Street Project Window & Selkirk Gallery
Admission: Free


Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont are Western Australian based visual artists working in photography, film, performance and set & costume design. have been collaborating on projects together since 2001, creating large multidisciplinary works encompassing photography, performance, choreography, film, installation and design.

Their works investigate nationalism, history and traditional cultural propaganda. They have used their six-year study of the work of Leni Riefenstahl, the infamous film director of the Third Reich in 1930's Germany, her best known films being 'Triumph of the Will' (1935) and 'Olympia' (1938).

In this film they have focused in on Riefenstahl's tumultuous career and delusional persona as a base structure for narrative in the work, but also looked to other sources, such as American high school movies from the last 30 years including 'Bring it On' (2000) and 'Mean Girls' (2004), and other films focusing on bodily representation and sexuality such as 'Perfect' (1985) and 'Pumping Iron' (1977).

In 'Ever Higher', Busby Berkeley's 1940s sequinned chorus girls are melded with the 1980s era American cheerleader. Matthew Barney's 'Drawing Restraint' series is also a reference; the idea that a self-imposed hindrance can enhance an artist's work, similar to the way athletes use resistance to build muscle and strength, is reflected here with the aerialist's painstaking scale of the ten metre rope attached to the ceiling of the gallery space.

The film opens with a long moving shot of empty stadium seating before introducing three scenes - a bodybuilder begins his solo workout to an 80s dance tune while two school kids flirt and wrestle beneath the bleachers. In front of the seating a rope aerialist begins her slow and steady ascent up a 10 metre long ropeto a 1930s era megaphone which she used to call her team of eight cheerleaders to arms. As the performance wears on, the chants becomes more frantic and more aggressive, but all the while delivered with gleaming white, saccharine smiles.

The warlike aerialist and cheerleaders cheer for an invisible team; sexually charged teenagers wrestle and make-out under the bleachers; and the focus on his intense workout makes the modern √úbermensch oblivious to others and any surroundings beyond his podium.

The work borrows its title from a high school motto, uses chants from school sport carnivals, US Military cadences, fascist slogans and Hollywood blockbusters, and sources its performers from the circus, gym and theatre stage. This live performance and video work was developed in conjunction with Gill and Mata Dupont's 2011 survey exhibition STADIUM at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), curated by Leigh Robb. Original music was composed and written by Perth-based composer and long time collaborator, Ash Gibson Greig.

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