Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Art Work of the Week

This week Marjie Todd, Front of House Assistant picks her favourite art work from the Jean Genet exhibition: Marc Camille Chaimowicz, The Casting for the Maids – First Cut, 2010

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Jean Genet... The Courtesy of Objects, installation view Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photo Andy Keate

This installation consists of a props and wardrobe room which is situated adjacent to a TV screen showing a film. The subject of the film is a fictional casting session of Jean Genets 1948 play The Maids. The story is about two young servant girls who plot to murder their mistress. The play was based on a true life incident involving the Papin sisters which took place in Le Mans in 1933.

The film is made up of various shots of three young women applying make up, costumes and reading aloud excerpts from the play. There are close ups showing some of the objects we see in the room within the Gallery – costumes, mirrors, flowers, masks and at one stage a container of barbiturates.

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Jean Genet... The Courtesy of Objects, installation view Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photo Andy Keate

The props and wardrobe room can only be viewed through three window frames designed by the artist, the door is locked so we cannot enter which is echoed in the accompanying film – here we see split screen shots of a winding staircase where the maids slowly descend the wide stone steps. The use of strobe lighting creates a ghostly and menacing air and freshly lit candles suggest some kind of ritual. As viewers we are witnessing an informal interpretation of Genet’s play but even here an uneasy aura of mystery pervades.

Find the installation in Gallery 4 until 2nd October, http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/art/jean-genet
 

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