January 16, 2016 - Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam - Cally Spooner: And You Were Wonderful, On Stage
January 16, 2016

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Cally Spooner, And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, 2013–15. 5 channel video installation. Courtesy of the artist, gbAgency, Paris and Galleria Zero, Milan. © Cally Spooner.

Cally Spooner
And You Were Wonderful, On Stage
January 16–April 24, 2016

Opening: January 15, 8–9pm, including a talk with Cally Spooner and curator Britte Sloothaak

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
The Netherlands

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The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents And You Were Wonderful, On Stage (2013–15), an immersive five-channel film installation by British artist Cally Spooner, acquired by the Stedelijk in 2014. In this work, a musical for six continuously rolling cameras, a black box soundstage and its inhabitants, are recorded in a single take. The mechanics of the shoot (cameras, microphones, mixing boards, chromakey screens and crew) remain as present as the performers they capture. Cast and crew become a constant-motion human backdrop, pragmatically recomposing scene-changes through lighting cues, voice, body movement, or continuous shifts of filmic apparatus and props. The semblance of a post-production edit arrives through the organisation and orchestration of bodies on set. 

In the installation, filmic composition becomes a by-product of a process; where these several well-rehearsed units of performers produce a 46-minute non-stop motion, which sometimes creates coherency, and at other times does not. The six camera feeds are presented on five screens, with their chronology and technical mishaps left untouched, in an installation that has more in common with a live choreographic event than cinema.

This work has its origins in a commission by the Stedelijk Museum’s Public Program. Beatrix Ruf, director of the Stedelijk Museum, says: "I am proud that with the acquisition of Cally Spooner’s installation in 2014, which was unfinished at the time, the Stedelijk made a strong statement of commitment. The museum desires to respond to current artistic developments and support contemporary talent by enabling the production of works, sometimes also through the commissioning and co-commissioning of their production. Developing long-term relationships with the artists of today shapes the identity of our collection in the future.”

Cally Spooner developed And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, a peripatetic musical, over the course of two years. The piece was delivered by a chorus line of women, gossiping about celebrities, athletes and politicians who have outsourced their performances to a technology, with examples including Beyoncé’s lip-syncing scandal during the presidential inauguration, Lance Armstrong’s Oprah-mediated apology for his use of doping, and speechwriter Jon Favreau’s departure from the White House in pursuit of a career as a Hollywood scriptwriter. The chorus’ libretto was based on meeting notes from an advertising agency, on how to extract personally disclosed stories and aspirations from employees and repackage them to better reflect the voice of their corporation as a TV commercial.  

The Stedelijk Museum acquired the work when Spooner was developing the performance into a five-channel installation during her residency at Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), New York, after a year-long period of public events and temporary exhibitions to develop the film’s composite parts and characters. Now, in 2016, the museum will show the completed work in its entirety for the first time. 

Curator: Britte Sloothaak

About Cally Spooner
Cally Spooner (b. 1983) has developed a distinctive body of work consisting of media installations, essays, novels and live performances such as radio broadcasts, plays and a musical. Recent solo exhibitions include THE ANTI CLIMAX CLIMAX (2015, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld), On False Tears and Outsourcing (2015, Vleeshal, Middelburg) and Regardless, it’s still her voice... (2014, gb Agency, Paris). In 2013 Spooner received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award; her novel Collapsing in Parts was published in the same year. In April 2016, her first large-scale US solo exhibition will take place at the New Museum, New York.

The Stedelijk Museum in 2016
In 2016, the Stedelijk Museum presents a series of dynamic solo exhibitions by a promising generation of artists. Many of the presentations feature new productions and recent acquisitions.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
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And You Were Wonderful, On Stage
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