The Hanging :: Duality
April 16th 2015
What you see is the weird, contradictory state of two distinct people trying to understand how to work together as one.
Duality is a new exhibition at Firstdraft by Alexandra Clapham and Penelope Benton. In this exhibition, the artists explore a negotiation of their relationship as both partners and collaborative artists.
The gallery is lined with a series of portrait videos where each work shows the individuals in different states like a Funfair Hall of Mirrors. The videos were recorded one-by-one in succession with each artist responding to a previous performance by the other. What we see is a visual back-and-forth battle between the artists that presents a linear, if abstract, story.
At different points in the videos you might see a single mascara-filled tear falling, while behind you the opposing video shows wind-swept hair in slow motion like in a shampoo commercial. Then at another point, Alexandra will sit struggling to stay awake, while Penelope performs a skin-crawling ritual of repeatedly tugging at her false eyelashes.
I personally had quite an emotional response to this exhibition. What I saw in Duality was a disconnected partnership in the way the performers look at each other while completely absorbed in their own worlds, and it made me think about how I deal with being a partner in my own life. The exhibition reminds you that you always enter into situations with the weight of your own needs, desires and all the baggage that comes with being an individual.
So while Duality may not be like a Hall of Mirrors in the sense that you see an image of yourself contorted across a room, what you do see is the weird, contradictory state of two distinct people trying to understand how to work together as one.
WHAT :: Duality by Alexandra Clapham and Penelope Benton
WHERE :: Firstdraft, Woolloomooloo
WHEN :: Wednesdays to Sundays until April 24
HOW MUCH :: Free – exhibition info here.