exhibition

daria martin - in the palace / wintergarden
20 Oct - 26 Nov 2006

The American artist Daria Martin (b. San Francisco, 1973), now living in London, will get things rolling with two film works at DOCKING STATION.

Martin shot her first film work, In the Palace (7 minutes), in 2000 in Los Angeles. The points of departure are the small, cage-like 1933 sculptureThe Palace at 4 AM by Albert Giacometti, and particular forms from avant-garde theatre, such as Oskar Schlemmer’s Slat Dance, from 1927.

For her film Martin has enlarged Giacometti’s sculpture to become a stage set. In this cage structure stand several of dancers who assume a number of serene poses as in a tableau vivant. Cameras and lights revolve slowly around the tableau in its dark space, creating an hypnoticeffect: a turbulent interweaving of light, bodies and gleaming steel tubes. The sound of rain, muffled thunder and twittering birds give this echo of the historic avant-garde an introverted aura of melancholy which is in turn nuanced by the informal, thrown-together costumes and the conduct of the dancers, who at some moments drop their theatrical pose.

Martin’s most recent film Wintergarden (13 minutes) was shot in England in 2005 in the De La Warr Pavilion, a restored modernist structure on the English coast. Wintergarden is much more narrative than In the Palace, but has a comparably theatrical setting. Here too hard, theatrical lighting is used, and the camerawork is characterised by a circular motion.

The cast of Wintergarden is comprised entirely of female performers who loosely present a tale that is based on the Greek myth of Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who was carried off to the world of the dead by Hades. By contrasting the steel and concrete of the spiral-shaped building with the bodies and movements of the dancers/performers, with the extreme vocal modulations of the Norwegian composer/vocal performer Maja Ratkje and with ringing Swarovskicrystal, Martin creates an oppressive vision of isolation, seduction and unconditional surrender to love.

Daria Martin was nominated for the Beck’s Futures Award (ICA, London, 2005) and in 2005 had solo exhibitions in the Kunsthalle, Zurich, The Showroom,London, and Künstlerhaus, Stuttgart. Beginning November 17 Daria Martin’s work can also be seen in De Appel in the project If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Revolution, Edition #2: Feminist Legacies and Potentials in Contemporary Art Practice.