Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Carolee Schneeman Fuses

Carolee Schneemann was among the founding figures of the American performance art of the 60's. She began her career as a painter, making works that dealt in a very formalist manner with ideas of presence, the body and the gesture. As Schneemann moved towards a more radical exploration of these same ideas she began produce the performance art for which she became renown.

Though recognized as a protean force within the avant-garde film, video and performance cultures which grew out of early '60s America, the full range of Schneeman's artistic vision has yet to be appreciated. As a seamless fusion of painting, film, video, poetry and performance, her work has always defied simple characterization and has been met by controversy at every turn.

Her renowned Fuses (1964-67), a film of collaged and painted sequences of lovemaking between Schneemann and her then partner, composer James Tenney; observed by the cat Kitch, transforms sexual intercourse into formal and aesthetic subject matter, while many and vociferous detractors see it as just pornography.

"...I wanted to see if the experience of what I saw would have any correspondence to what I felt-- the intimacy of the lovemaking... And I wanted to put into that materiality of film the energies of the body, so that the film itself dissolves and recombines and is transparent and dense-- as one feels during lovemaking... It is different from any pornographic work that you've ever seen-- that's why people are still looking at it! And there's no objectification or fetishization of the woman." Carolee Schneemann

"In her attempt to reproduce the whole visual and tactile experience of lovemaking as a subjective phenomenon, Schneemann spent some three years marking on the film, baking it in the oven, even hanging it out the window during rainstorms on the off chance it might be struck by lightning. Much as human beings carry the physical traces of their experiences, so this film testifies to what it has been through and communicates the spirit of its maker. The red heat baked into the emulsion suffuses the film, a concrete emblem of erotic power." B. Ruby Rich, Chicago Art Institute.

Fuses will be shown (excerpts) as part of the Directors Lounge presentation:
Figures of Motion part 1 the painted tape
thursday june 22th 10pm at zapp live

part of our ongoing series of summer specials every thursday

zapp live Torstr. 159 ( between berg u.ackerstr )10115 Berlin, open from 8pm on

Fuses is also avaiable at UbuWeb
You can download the mpeg-file (218 meg) here

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...