Artist: Jacqueline Fraser
Venue: Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich
Exhibition Title: The Making of Maria by Callas 2020
Date: January 22 – February 21, 2021
Curated By: Daniel Baumann and Matthew Hanson
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich
For her first institutional exhibition in Switzerland, Jacqueline Fraser (*1956, New Zealand) presents The Making of Maria by Callas 2020, 2020, a new site specific installation at Kunsthalle Zürich. It is the latest in a series of works, begun in 2011, that propose fictional remakes of arthouse and Hollywood films. In these, the premise and visual language of a select film is dismantled and reimagined. Fraser re-directs: using discarded fabric, torn magazines, party paraphernalia, plastics, veneers, tinsels, overlapping soundtracks and projections, she re-casts, re-scores and re-costumes film as deconstructed storyboard.
From 8 ½ to Legally Blonde, Fraser selects films that could be deemed high brow or low. They narrate stories of ambitious characters moving up and out, by hook or by crook and often against social expectations of their race, gender or sexuality. Of course, these aren’t exactly ‘remakes’. Rather, the tone, context and atmosphere of these films are absorbed into sculptural arrangements and large-scale installations that feign to be as ostentatious as the characters and stories that inspire them – moving image arrested as art, posing as fashion, scored by rap and staged as theatre; narrative and its imagery circulating from one realm of fantasy to another.
The Making of Maria by Callas 2020 is inspired by Tom Volf’s 2017 documentary about the soprano Maria Callas. Itself a found footage collage, the work traces the life of, arguably, the greatest opera star – both as a virtuoso and an icon of international acclaim – of the 20th century. In particular, the film details the staging of the diva-character ‘Callas’ by the person ‘Maria’, and the compromises this entailed for both.