We are thrilled again to welcome an internationally acclaimed artist of our time, Marianna Simnett. Simnett will give an introduction to her work, and show a selection of her outstanding films:
Prayers for Roadkill, 2022, 6 min
Prayers for Roadkill draws its title from a line in Adrian Piper’s journal where she expresses empathy and fascination with the micro-violence that unfolds beneath the wheels of an automobile.
In Simnett’s stop motion animation film and intricate sculptures depicting hybrid human-animal creatures, she wields the aesthetic of vintage children’s television programming, soft play areas, and modernist asy- lums to explore the emotional and material entanglements of love and cruelty. To create the characters in her film, Simnett not only literally reanimates roadkill but reclaims – and thereby empowers – the image of the animal to plumb the depths of some of the darkest, most fundamental aspects of being human.
The Needle and the Larynx, 2016, 15 min
In The Needle and the Larynx, the artist’s voice is surgically lowered with Botox whilst she recites a grim parable about gender, nature and artifice. Commissioned by Serpentine Galleries.
The Udder, 2014, 15 min
Shot on a dairy farm and conjuring extraordinary performances from the people who live and work there, The Udder is a magic-realist tale which considers the increasingly technical process of automated milk production as the site of an elemental struggle between the forces of purification and corruption. Commissioned by Jerwood/FVU Awards.
Blood, 2015, 23 min
Blood alternates between a sick-bed and a reverberant mountain landscape, pivoting on the figure of Isabel, the young heroine of The Udder, and Lali, a ‘sworn virgin’ from the north of Albania, who has renounced her biological identity and elected, from an early age, to live life as a man. Commissioned by Jerwood/FVU Awards.
Blue Roses, 2015, 13 min
Blue Roses moves between an operating theatre, a cockroach laboratory, and a blue netherworld representing the interior of a knee. It blends documentary techniques (non-actors playing versions of themselves) with hallucinatory shifts in setting and character that disrupt our ability to distinguish what is real from what is imagined. Commissioned by Comar.
The Bird Game, 2019, 20 min
“What is a Crow anyway?
Crows are people that did bad things.”
The Bird Game is about a wicked trickster crow who snares innocent children in an elaborate game and leads them to their deaths. In The Bird Game, the rules can change at any moment. There is no stable ground to stand on. And so the only thing to do is to stay alert, embrace the strangeness and fly into the flame.
Directed by Marianna Simnett, co-written by Marianna Simnett & Charlie Fox, produced by Sophie Neave, shot on 16mm by Robbie Ryan BSC, starring Joanne Whalley as ‘Crow’, with music by Oliver Coates, and performed by live birds and children at Waddesdon Manor. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and the Rothschild Foundation.
Marianna Simnett is a British-Croatian multidisciplinary artist living and working in Berlin. Her immersive narratives centre around the overlapping and at times incongruous themes of vulnerability, autonomy, control, pain, metamorphosis, and care.
Her work has been exhibited internationally in group exhibitions at venues including the 59th Venice Biennale: The Milk of Dreams (2022); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2022); British Art Show 9, various cities (2021); A Fire in my Belly, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (2021); Unprecedented Times, Kunsthaus Bregenz (2020); and The Body Electric, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019). Recent solo exhibitions include those at City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand (2021); Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2020); Kunsthalle Zürich (2019), Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (2019); the New Museum, New York (2018) and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2018).