press release

The South London Gallery presents the first UK exhibition by Dutch artist Manon de Boer, bringing together a selection of works from recent years and a new work, Dissonant, 2010. A parallel selection of de Boer’s longer films are featured in a series of one-off screenings including the world premiere of Think about Wood, Think about Metal, 2011, which takes the percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky as its subject.

Using 35mm and 16mm film, de Boer’s works explore the nature, impact and nuances of memory. Her technique combines a documentary approach with a subtle editing process and an acute attention to sound in relation to image. Some of her films focus on individuals recounting their recollections, such as Sylvia Kristel-Paris, 2003, which examines the position of the subject and spectator within a described reality, questioning the representation of truth in storytelling. The works brought together in this exhibition explore aspects of stillness and movement, and the relationship between the two.

Situated at the intersection of cinema and art film-making, de Boer’s cinematography inverts the rules of formal cinematic composition. Through her editing, often dictated by music, voice or silence, the sound of breath or steps, she suggests the existence of another space, one which expands beyond the image itself and is comprised of sensations. Dissonant, 2010, for example, shows dancer Cynthia Loemij (from Rosas, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s company) performing a 10-minute response to Eugène Ysayë’s Three Sonatas for Violin. Here the dominance of sound over image is emphasised through moments in which the screen goes blank but the soundtrack continues as the artist changes reels.

Two Times 4’33”, 2008, depicts Jean-Luc Fafchamps performing the famous musical work by John Cage twice. First the musician is filmed performing the piece and then the camera shifts to capture the reactions of the audience as they listen. In this way the work offers a double interpretation of the performance, revealing the impossibility of accurate objective representation, just as Cage’s composition demonstrated the impossibility of absolute silence.

De Boer’s interest in avant-garde music, dance, literature, film and other conceptual artistic productions stems from her fascination with the 60s and 70s. De Boer is drawn to this era when “celebration of a certain artistic freedom” thrived in parallel to the radical political. The choice of actors, dancers and musicians as her subjects stems from her proximity to the dance and music scenes in Brussels where she lives.

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Manon de Boer
Framed In An Open Window