The Casting of the Maids
Marc Camille Chaimowicz
Cinémathèque Robert-Lynen, Paris
Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
The Casting of the Maids, 2012. Digital video, 7'49. Courtesy of the artist & Cabinet, London
The Casting of the Maids (2012) stages a suggestive casting for Jean Genet's play The Maids, written in 1947. The work is part of a more global project, still in process, which, in the form of a road-movie, investigates the particular relation of the artist to the work of the writer—from Burgundy, where Genet spent a part of his childhood, until Larache in Morocco where he is buried. On this trajectory, there is thus The Casting of the Maids, a strange work, at the same time autonomous and fragment, which mixes subtly the questions of rushes in cinema (we can hear, off screen, the artist guiding his actress), of the casting (sat on a bed, books in the hand, the girls read Genet's play), of the mise-en-scène and of theater (MCC arranged the set, bringing accessories, among which some are typical of his aesthetics: the mirror, a vase, flowers). The images, sometimes snapped with a stroboscope, are accompanied by an original music by Dan Fox, in which the musician alludes to some of the chords of David Bowie's The Jean Genie (1973).
Vanessa Desclaux, one of the actresses, explains that the small pink room of the Agey castle in Burgundy, at the same time the shooting's stage and the actresses' boudoir "placed the participants in an ambiguous proximity, but adapted to the violently feminine atmosphere of Genet's writing. Alternating the roles, without clear intention to embody any of the characters, the young women lent themselves to a fictional casting [ … ] Marc Camille, she pursues, was at a short distance of what deployed under his eyes: fragmented moments of affected postures, elegant gestures, although sometimes exaggerated or clumsy, short-lived moments of life and art transformed into theatre."
The permutation of the functions, psychologies, and names works in this narrow space where the bodies brush, weave each other, and irrigate mutually. The stages of the theatre and of the movie are places for the performance as well as the preparation (for the murder as well as for the casting). Under Marc Camille Chaimowicz's scissors, Genet's play eludes the social geometries inherent to the theatre of the Maids to create a space of the front-drama.
Born in Paris in 1947, Marc Camille Chaimowicz lives and works between London and Burgundy. He participated to numerous group and solo exhibitions, including ones at Secession (Vienna) in 2009, at Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Britain in 2011, and at Manifesta 10 in 2014. He is represented by Cabinet (London), Neu (Berlin), and Andrew Kreps (New York).
Camilla Wills & Allison Katz
Chienne Perdue, 2014. Courtesy of the artists
In echo to the work of Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Camilla Wills & Allison Katz present the video Chienne perdue (2014) and a new series of posters in the hall of the Cinémathèque.
Born in 1985 in Cheltenham, Camilla Wills lives and works in London. An artist and editor, she is part this year of Le Commissariat in collaboration with Laetitia Paviani at Treize (Paris). Her installations and performances are based on videos and digital prints. Her recent group exhibitions include: Notes on Neo-Camp, Studio Voltaire, London, 2013; My vocabulary did this to me, South London Gallery, London, 2014; Les Drames 3D, Triangle, Marseille, 2015. Gaudel de Stampa gallery in Paris currently presents a solo exhibition entitled Licence Licence.
Born in 1980 in Montreal, Allison Katz lives and works in London. Known for her paintings, she also uses ceramics and advertising posters. She is developing a particular visual language based on recurring topics (strawberries, monkeys, nose, black pears), present in her exhibitions: Notes on Neo-Camp, Studio Voltaire, and Regardless, Laura Bartlett, London, 2013; Puddle, Pothole, Portal, Sculpture Center, New York, 2014; Call and Response, Gavin Brown, New York, and The Purple Crab, David Roberts Art Foundation, London, 2015.