Eleanor Antin Artist Talk + Screening

Electronic Arts Intermix

poster for Eleanor Antin Artist Talk + Screening

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Eleanor Antin has worked in film, video, photography, installation and performance for four decades. In the 1970s, Antin produced a series of feature-length narrative videos starring hand-painted paper dolls. Performing with a cast of two-dimensional characters, Antin tackled major issues of the day, while lampooning contemporary gender roles and cultural stereotypes. Antin will speak about this series and screen excerpts from works including The Adventures of a Nurse (1976), The Nurse and the Hijackers (1977) and The Angel of Mercy (1981).

In The Adventures of a Nurse, Antin introduces her paper doll protagonist, "Nurse Eleanor," who becomes the brave, and much put-upon, heroine of a succession of cliché romances with a dying poet, a biker, a doctor, a French ski bum, and an anti-war senator. The Nurse and the Hijackers employs the structure of a popular movie genre as an armature for Antin's theater of ideas. Featuring a cast of hand-painted paper dolls, who display more than a coincidental resemblance to figures in the art world of the 1970s, Antin's drama recounts the hijacking of "Nurse Eleanor's" plane on the way to St. Tropez. Finally, in The Angel of Mercy, Antin's paper dolls become life-size in a live performance restaged for video in 1981. Here, Antin replaces "Nurse Eleanor," her ironic amalgamation of 1970s bimbo stereotypes, with "Eleanor Nightingale," who leaves the silken prison of her Victorian home and goes off to war in the Crimea.

Antin will also screen an excerpt from her newest video, Classical Frieze (2009), which documents the production of Antin's large-scale photographic tableaux. One can see these recent works, which focus on classical history, mythology and allegory, as the logical outcome of Antin's earlier directorial activities. Instead of filling the frame with a paper cast, here she carefully directs and arranges flesh and blood models.

In her early works, Antin uses fictional characters, autobiography and narrative to invent histories and explore what she calls "the slippery nature of the self." Antin deploys role-playing and artifice as conceptual devices, adopting archetypal personae — a ballerina, a king, a nurse — in her theatrical dramatizations of identity and representation.

A Q&A session with the audience will follow Antin's presentation.



May 19, 2009 from 18:30


Eleanor Antin

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