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For Performa 15, Australian artist Justene Williams reimagines The Curtain Breathed Deeply, a lavish, sensorial installation that overwhelms the senses.
This expansive installation combines video performance with multifaceted mise-en- scènes comprised of handmade sets, costumes and sculptural elements that immerse the audience and create a space of complicit spectatorship. First premiered at Artspace, Sydney in 2014, The Curtain Breathed Deeply blends ritualistic practices from Shamanism, Voodoo and Modernist primitivism with art historical giants—Picasso, Leger, Klein, Flavin, and Kahlo—and a range of pop cultural influences from hip hop, Milli Vanilli, to musicals, as well as and objects and images appropriated from a stereotypical Western Sydney suburban lifestyle. Drawing from her training in dance, fine art, photography and video, as well as her personal history, Williams amasses a collection of visual and aural curiosities that seduce audiences through a wealth of patterns, colours, textures and tonalities.
Image credit: Justene Williams, The Joy of Life After Matisse/Madonna/Marcel, 2014; photo courtesy of the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Australia.
Co-presented with Artspace, Sydney. Supported by Australia Arts Council with additional support from the NSW Government through Arts NSW; and, the Australian Artists’ Grant is a NAVA initiative, made possible through the generous sponsorship of Mrs Janet Holmes à Court and the support of the Visual Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts.