Stermitz, Evelin

Contextual Face - curated by Evelin Stermitz (Austria)

Contextual Face

Curatorial contribution by
Evelin Stermitz

presented on 18 March 2011 at Kharkiv City Art Gallery (Ukraine)

CologneOFF 2011 UKRAINE
14-20 March 2011 – Kiev-Kharkiv

Curatorial statement
Contextual Face

Various women artists are including their own face as an iconographic object and symbol bearer in their art works, or using the face of others, the former photographic portrait, transcending into the moving image. This video series addresses variant meanings of the woman’s face in a context of women’s issues when embedded in a socio-cultural heritage. The face can be seen as more then a signifier of our cultural norms, in the context of women often foregrounded not only as indicator for individual remembrance, not only associated to cultural norms such as beauty stereotypes, objectification of commodified women in advertisements, and not only as a surface for self-creation when mirroring the self to others, but read as political text and statement in a broader context.

Duba Sambolec

Title of work
NoHomeVideos© CODE II
2000, 01:32 Min.

Video performances CODE I, II, III and IV form one work. Nevertheless, each one of them might be presented separately. They are based on automated repetitive speech and on dialogs between two women where one woman dominates the conversation and sets up the momentum for the other one to answer illogically. They are reminiscent to the ping-pong game by exposing the (lack of) concentration, domination, subordination and resistance.
The idea derives from informative automatic audio recordings from everyday life. We hear them while calling various institutions, in public places such as are elevators, airports, shopping malls, etc. Consequently, these recordings can provoke us to search for people, who are hidden behind them in public institutions.
The characteristic of the video CODE II is a repetitive authoritative command to the viewer that might provoke anger/resistance and/or despair.

Michelle Handelman

Title of work
I hate You, 2002, 02:48 Min.

Created and performed by Michelle Handelman.

In a moment of self-loathing narcissism, Handelman riffs off of Bruce Nauman’s early performance tapes and chants this negative affirmation into a song of personal endearment.

Evelin Stermitz

Title of work
Water Portrait I, Portrait of Carmen Lipush, 2010, 02:06 Min.
Text and voice by Carmen Lipush.
Concept, Sound and Video by Evelin Stermitz.

This video series faces women’s portraits of images mirroring from the water surface, filmed at the Ljubljanica river in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
These video portraits reveal experiences of violence against women, dedicated to the water. The form of this video work is an expansion of the former silent photographic portrait.

Ana Grobler

Title of work
Migraine, 2007, 05:23 Min.

The video is some sort of a migrainic self-portrait. It was made in the time of a migraine attack, from shooting the scenes to the montage. The whole process of making the video is consequently permeated with those sensations. Video effects are used not only to show, but to draw near and to assist the spectator to feel the condition of a person in the time of the migraine attack. Migraine headaches experiences 10-12% of the population, a major part of the patients are women in childhood the number of boys and girls who suffer from migraine is similar. But in the adolescent period the number of women increases steadily. In the ages 35-40 the ratio is even 3 women to 1 man. At the end of the video the spectator is confronted with a question of the origin of this phenomenon. Is it biological condition or occurrence stimulated by society?

Liana Zanfrisco

Title of work
Like Me, 2009, 01:30 Min.

Sound Videodrome (Roberto Incelli)
Performance and Video by Liana Zanfrisco.

„Man will sich selbst ein Fremder sein. Nicht in der Rolle. Wohl aber in der unbewussten Entscheidung, welche Art von Rolle ich mir zuschreibe, liegt meine Wirklichkeit.“ Max Frisch: Stiller. (Oneself would like to be a stranger in oneself. Not in the role. But in the unconscious decision in which role I assign to myself, there is my reality.)
A video camera films my face, while I change one pose every second, and every second a part of my face is hidden by faces cut from newspapers.

Kika Nicolela

Title of work
Ecstasy Poem, 2006, 02:46 Min.

Side by side, two faces of the same woman looking at the camera are in an extreme slow motion. All nuances of her expressions can be perceived. In one portrait, she’s young, at the peak of her beauty. On the other one, she’s about 60 years old. The woman is the actress Liv Ullman, acting in two different films by Ingmar Bergman.

Vesna Bukovec

Title of work
Endless Game, 2006, 01:32 Min.

Contemporary advertising no longer directly sells products, it sells
emotions, desires and fantasies. Advertisers teach us how we have to look
and behave to be competitive in today’s world.
Most of the advertising uses eroticism as the primary force of attraction.
Who is the target audience, male or female? Even if the product is made for women, the imagery addresses both sexes. A woman has to buy the product that will transform her in such a way that she can enter a man’s fantasy. And a man has to buy some other product to attract women that look and act like the ones in advertisements. The endless game of seduction is present everywhere. In case we forget, the first advertisement will remind us.

Alison Williams

Title of work
Sit Stay, 2008, 03:20 Min.

Gender abuse video – a woman has the right to her own voice, to speak out and be heard. Alison Williams – performance based video – gender based works / anti gender abuse – pro women’s rights art.

Angelika Rinnhofer

Title of work
traumraum revised:insomnia, 2009, 04:41 Min.

Dancer: Erin Parsch
Narrator: Robert C. Solomon, “No Excuses”, Existentialism and the Meaning of Life: Heidegger on the World and the Self; The Teaching Company, 2000.

For *traumraum revised: insomnia*, I drew from my desire as a child to become a ballet dancer and used this experience to examine the relationship between memory, pain, dreams, and ambition.
In my previous work, up to that point, there was always a division between me as the art maker, my subjects, and my audience. For “traumraum revised: insomnia”, I focused on my own body and my presence to relate my concepts.
Fighting insomnia and contemplating life and death while driving to work every morning – the everyday finally recedes when bits of a childhood dream start to appear merely to imply its unattainability.
My childhood dream of becoming a dancer and its quick deterioration lent itself to being scrutinized. After years I took up practicing ballet again; the restrictions and discipline connected with it are still embedded in my body. These restrictions associated with ballet training proved to be a burden hardly possible to overcome. The sensation of pain to control and restrict my body’s movements were, at times, cause for limitless frustration but it corresponded to my concurring research on the objectless of pain and its interpretation in visual art. After acknowledging these obstructions, my mind became more receptive to considering ballet as an agent to make visual art. I engaged it as a means to create videos, drawings, and photographs. With time, doing barre exercises, reflecting on dance again, and the meditative quality of repetitive physical movements, transformed my art practice to be concerned with experimentation and self-examination.
The process of working on *traumraum revised* affected my own conception of memory as a force to make art and to use it to speak about cultural issues such as gender and society’s expectations related to it; feminist art; but also to touch on the randomness and pliability of one’s narrative.

Grace Graupe Pillard

Title of work
What I Worry About????, 2007, 02:57 Min.

Worry…worry…worry…what keeps me up at night and in the morning and afternoon! Personal issues such as aging, career, appearance, all contribute to the lines on my forehead….done with humor and pathos.

Dominique Buchtala

Title of work
Collecting, 2006, 04:00 Min.
Video-Performance by Dominique Buchtala.

The video work Collecting is a kind of examination of a common action. I asked myself: What happens if I collect as much spittle in my mouth as I can? Am I able to collect so much spittle, that I will burst
in the end? How much time will the process take? Will my mouth have been hurt? Will I swallow during the process of collecting? The video presents my face in a chewing movement to accumulate spittle in
my mouth. During the movement the lips automatically get wet. Through this a continuous process starts, which brings the collection to an end after four minutes have gone. The spittle just flew out of the mouth.

Evelin Stermitz

Title of work
Rose is a Rose, 2008, 03:52 Min.
Performance, Sound, Video by Evelin Stermitz.

This performative video work shows a woman engaged in covering her face with rose leaves. As a metaphor for the absurd above and beyond term “beauty”, the fragility of beauty and the canons of beauty, the video reveals an obscure image of woman, which is also shaped by transiency and impermanence.
Excerpts from the poem “Sacred Emily” by Gertrude Stein, in which she created the sentence “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”, form the sound collage to the video work.