Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont: Ever Higher
Thursday, May 23, 2013 -
Sunday, July 07, 2013,
6:00 PM -
Lydiard Street Project Window & Selkirk Gallery
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
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 Übermensch 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.
Visit their website