press release

Maria Bustnes exhibits the two-part documentation 'The Girl Band Project: Chilimango (Paint it Black)', 2001, in which she presents a girl band from Lund, Sweden. Part I is a music video, a cover version of 'Paint It Black' by the Rolling Stones. Part II is a music documentary in which the band's five members, all between ages of fourteen and fifteen, discuss their motivations, making music together, and their musical preferences.

Especially interesting element in this work is the discrepancy between how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others. The static appearance of the girls in the video, performing so seriously, with unapproachable expressions on their faces, and with a musical self-confidence devoid of any grand rock music gestures, is simply impressive. This rejection of stage presence is contradicted by the project's purely documentary portion, in which the girls insist that they are "real", authentic, rock band. For that reason, too, 'The Girl Band Project' can be read as mini-chapter of the history of "Women in Rock Music", showcasing women musicians who have since the 1970's - from punk to Riot-Girl movement to 'Chicks on Speed', onwards to 'Peaches', 'Kevin Blechdom', 'Le Tigre', and all others - deliberately used deconstruction, subversion, and affirmation as strategies to disrupt the relationship between genders in rock music, to devise a counter-design to the male-machismo tradition of guitar playing, and to write their own history.

'The Girl Band Project: Chilimango (Paint it Black)' analyses the social structures in which a girl band like Chilimango can be formed: the city of Lund is where one of Scandinavia's oldest and most renowned universities is located, it is the academic centre of social-democratic Sweden. Learning how to play a musical instrument is an integral part of music instruction at school, and the local rock club it is supported by the municipality and state when it comes to possible engagements and rehearsal spaces.

Maria Bustnes was born in 1976 in Tromsø, Norway; she lives and works in Oslo and in Malmö. She is attending the International Studio Program, Office for Contemporary Art, Norway, and is currently exhibiting in the 3rd Berlin Biennial. The exhibition is generously supported by The Norwegian Embassy. Pressetext

Maria Bustnes - The Girl Band Project: Chilimango (Paint It Black)