Ideal Glass Video Screening
Friday May 6, 2016 at 8pm FREE
Drinks will be served after the screening
Taking the costume––one of Ideal Glass’ landmark––as a starting point, this art video screening gathers videos in which clothing motivates the argument and, often time, even acts as a character in itself. Celebrating the centenary of the Cabaret Voltaire and its outrageous taste for grotesque dresses, this program aims to reinvest the subversive power of the costume, its direct expressivity and the strong emotional impact it can have on the viewer.
If regular clothes are the space of projection of the real self, the costume is the space of projection of the imagined-self. Some of the works presented at the screening investigate the costume’s nature as a way to transform themselves, such as Ferruel & Guédon who invent their own rituals and costumes to re-consider folklore. In Vis voluntatis (2009) Charles Fréger––whose entire body of work is centered on dress customs––gets carried away in a Chinese dance and by doing so conforms to the traditional dress and make-up. The costume plays a significant role in the process of deciphering a character. Typically in comedia dell’arte, the figure is the costume (and vice versa) to the point that it becomes increasingly difficult to determine who is in action: the actor or the clothes? Pauline Curnier Jardin embarks her crew in a thrilling circus, in which regular characters––the ringmaster and acrobats for instance––mixes with ideas personified through costumes. Bertille Bak’s video piece is also built around that concept while her dressed-actors are animated like puppets. Another strong power of outfits is that wearing the costume is being the costume: Caecilia Tripp follows participants to the Trinidad Carnival as they are getting dressed in the streets and progressively become historical characters, engaging themselves in an empowering re-enactment as a decolonizing Act. Catherine Baÿ dresses her performers as Snow White and sends them in public space, with instructions to adopt troubling behaviors. Baÿ reminds us that the costume is, above all, an object of communication: to reach its efficiency, it requires an audience to blend the spectacular and the ordinary.
In his essay The Diseases of Costume (1955), Roland Barthes outlines a moral of the theater costume, as he believes that it is based on the deep meaning of the play or its gestus, which it is meant to serve. In these videos, the costume stands as the exact contrary: it doesn’t serve any other mission than itself, it glows, it catches the eye, it concentrates the attention and distracts from everything else. The costume is used per se and is served by the action. It is more than a sign; it is the idea itself. The trial of truth is exalted in the videos presented at Ideal Glass: the costume escapes from the stage and measures itself to streets and the fields.
Come as you are – you might leave as someone else!
Pauline Curnier Jardin
Aurélie Ferruel & Florentine Guédon
Since 1994, she has been developing a body of work specific to the codes of representation. In Relief ou le discours sur l’éloquence, she dissects the distances between the intimate versus social body while observing political men’s postures during the 1995 French presidential elections. Ainsi parlait Eliane et Lulu, developed with Marco Berrettini and Kolatch, plays on the confrontation of unique bodies on stage. In 1999, she choreographed Nains mode d’emploi, a show that takes place in a display window, in which Baÿ elaborates on a complex stage device that establishes a dialog between a video screen and the actors, exacerbates the clown motif, and concentrates on the satirical approach of the world of choreography.(Source: Snow White project website)
Curnier Jardin supports a generous, intelligent, non-systematic vision of continuity between human and nonhuman bodies. Usually associated with femininity and passivity, she looks to passion—traditionally opposed to “masculine” reason—as primary to sensations, perceptions, and the subject’s—or object’s—potential for action. (Alise Upitis)
The group is a way for the individual to build an identity, working in duo helps forge this desire to belong and to develop a collective representation through objects such as costumes, headdresses, jewelry, etc. Many accessories are loaded with a strong ceremonial value. Beside their family cultures, their plastic work integrates and mixes identity codes of various groups such as tribes, local fraternities, various social circles. The two artists observe as anthropologists and take ownership of cults and aesthetical traditions to create new ones. (Source: artists’ website, translation: Marie van Eersel)
Charles Fréger has chosen communities for which outfits take on their most sparkling and prestigious appearance (Steps, Empire, Opera) as well as the more modest ones where the corporate image epitomizes life in Europe (Bleus, Sihuhu) or on other continents (Umwana, Ti du). Ceremonial regiments and troops of western elites rub shoulders with Rwandan orphans or Vietnamese monks where the exotic dress doubles as an almost ethnographic vision, close to that of August Sander. In his work, he makes sure to present his subjects in harmony with a place, a time and a community as if to better convince us of our implacable ties to the excesses of appearance and the social aspect of position or status. Charles Fréger explores the genre of the portrait as an artist, constantly looking back at history. (Source: artist’s website)
Caecilia Tripp has received several international grants representing a body of film and video installations, performance and photographic works from 1999 up to now, which has been shown internationally in galleries, museums such as PS1/MOMA New York / USA, Palais de Tokyo Paris /France, Jeu de Paume Paris / France, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, etc.
The Making of Americans (2004) won the award for the best experimental film at Cinema Paradise, Hawai / USA. It was screened at several international festivals and museum venues. (Source: artist’s website)