Ursula Mayer

INTERIORS

video (super 16 mm transferred to DVD) / 2006
wall of the former pumping station, Zdrojowa 5

 

Brzeźno’s spa infrastructure enjoyed its greatest heyday at the turn of the 20th century: wooden architecture flourished and the manor style, which equipped seaside villas with all sorts of decorations, turrets, patios and roofed porches, was gaining popularity. Progressive modernist architecture was not received well here. Only one modernist structure was built in the district, and although its designer, Martin Kiessling, even served as the municipal architect for a while, he did not succeed in disseminating the modernist ideas in Gdańsk. Eventually, the only modernist building erected in Brzeźno, which currently stands empty, for many years served as a pumping station. Its external wall will now be used to screen Ursula Mayer’s film Interiors, originally shot on 16 mm tape. The protagonists, two women of different ages, stroll across the interiors of the London house of architect Ernö Goldfinger and his wife Ursula. In the 1930s, it was a popular meeting place among intellectuals. The camera follows the women’s smooth movements and elements of interior design: running down the stairs, hands gliding along the banister, net curtains moved by breathing, sensuously stroking artworks inside the house. One of these works is a model of a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, a pioneering British avant-garde artist of the 1930s and 40s. This is a moving sculpture that revolves around its axis. Its form and title, Theme on Electronics (Orpheus), was meant to symbolize the harmony between modern technology and musical composition. The film reality is set in non-time, somewhere between the 1930s, 1960s and the present day: it is sometimes shown in technicolour, at other times as a black-and-white memory. Hepworth’s sculpture is a recurring motif: the gyrating object that attracts the women’s meaningful gaze. It represents the metaphorical moment of their meeting – metaphorical, since the protagonists keep passing each other in the labyrinth of floors and rooms. Ursula Mayer’s film may be seen to depict the work of memory and imagination, where recollections intertwine with the perceived image.

 

Ursula Mayer (b. 1970)

is a multimedia artist, author of films, video works and sculptures. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1996) and Goldsmiths College in London (2005). She won the prestigious Jarman Award (2014) for eminent experimental filmmakers. Her works have been shown in the most important art centres around the world. Mayer’s poetic films combine elements of mythology, biopolitics and the semiotics of cinema to visualise the ontology of posthuman times. The Austrian-born artist lives and works in London and Vienna.

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