Emily Wardill at the
National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen
11 May–16 September 2012
DK-1307 Copenhagen K
T +45 3374 8494
F +45 3374 8404
The National Gallery of Denmark presents a new film by award-winning British artist Emily Wardill that explores possible similarities between bodily and emotional dysfunctionalities.
The film was commissioned by National Gallery of Denmark for the museum’s venue for contemporary art, the x-room.
The film was developed through workshops with actors at the Lilith Performance Studio in Malmo, Sweden. It posits itself somewhere between performance and film—with elements of the performance entering the film, and elements of the film entering the performance. This relationship between the live performance and the edited footage and between the recorded and then re-enacted scenes informs the self-awareness of the characters in the film and becomes an important element in the audience’s experience. Who is watching their own moves? How does self-awareness look like bad acting and why? Who do we believe and when? And when does a physiotherapy room become an obstacle course?
Emily Wardill states: “I want the film to function somewhere between a thriller and a poem, but for the way that it is shot to make you think about your own body and what it knows.”
The film evolves around Eitienne, a neurologist, who for many years has immersed himself in his work and neglected his love life. In a sense his love is hidden to himself because he does not see it. Eitienne is treating a patient who can only move his body if he is looking at it. Eitienne is also trying to help his students use awareness of their bodies as a means to improve intellectually. When Eitienne finally takes up dating he meets the woman Slalem who attempts to appeal to Eitienne as a sensory being and he falls bewilderedly in love. The film is a series of vignettes which explore the relationship between Eitienne, Slalem, his patient, and his students.
The title of the film is a quote taken from an essay about magic and trance by the Irish poet W.B. Yeats: “…found himself in a walled garden on the top of a high mountain, and in the middle of it a tree with great birds on the branches, and fruit out of which, if you held a fruit to your ear, came the sound of fighting…”
About Emily Wardill
Emily Wardill primarily works with film and video. Taking her point of departure in the relationship between materiality and ideas she works in an original, humorous, and critical manner, mixing a wide range of filmic genres and connecting insights into historical, scientific, and philosophical information in unorthodox ways.
Emily Wardill was born in Great Britain in 1977 and is a graduate from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She now primarily works and lives in Marseille. Wardill has presented her work in solo shows at the Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe (2012), De Appel in Amsterdam (2009), and at ICA in London (2008). Her work has also been shown at the British Art Show in (2010) and the Venice Biennale (2011). In 2010 she won the prestigious Jarman Award for film art.
Image above courtesy the artist and National Gallery of Denmark.