Film

Anthea Hamilton

Venice (2011)

Anthea Hamilton is best known for her sculptural assemblages and installations which she has referred to as ‘performative spaces’. Setting up elliptical conversations between classical statuary and contemporary pin-ups, these works often involve the motifs of wooden cut-outs of women’s legs, modelled on her won, furniture (which is similarly leggy) and slatted blinds. Regarding the latter, it is useful to remember that the French word for blind is jalousie: the emphasis in much of Hamilton’s work is on the potency of looking; all of these objects wither imply or are infused with different kinds of desire. There is an intoxicating awareness here of the body in motion, the body on display, whether is it in the gym (as in the 2009 installation Turnhalle, or Gymnasium, which includes read-to-use sports equipment) or on the dancefloor. Venice includes John Travolta’s famous routine in the 1977 film ‘Saturday Night Fever’.

Hamilton’s interest in disco stems from her interest in how it offers a democratic platform for personal display. Thumbing its nose at Modernism’s ‘less is more’ maxim, Hamilton’s interpretation of the era revolves around the disco strut. Hamilton’s set takes the place of the disco dancefloor, and her actors improvise around the space, creating their own strut, whilst later, john performs his famous dance scene between the legs of a collaged man working out. The decadent sensibility of disco is at se to structure the film.

A combination of live action and animation, Hamilton transforms motifs of her sculptural works into the transitions from one scene to another: for example a pair of legs snap together as a clapper-board, another pair walk across creating a ‘slide-wipe’. Liberated from their native scale, collaged and found images and footage shot on set form a time-based exploration of different ways of looking that is part sensual, part comic.

Frieze Film 2011 was curated by Sarah McCrory under the auspices of Frieze Projects.

Frieze Film is a programme of artist commissions screened to coincide with Frieze Art Fair, in 2011 it included five newly commissioned films.

In previous years collaborations between Frieze Film and Channel 4’s ‘3 Minute Wonder’ slot have averaged audiences in excess of one million viewers.