Emily Wardill: When you fall into a trance
20 September–18 October 2014
In the second solo exhibition of the year Index presents When you fall into a trance by award-winning British artist Emily Wardill (born in 1977, UK).
Emily Wardill’s films deconstruct their own visual languages, in a way that is inspired by an attempt to empower the viewer, but which also emphasises the irreducible strangeness of images. Her films are known for their historical and intellectual appetites, as well as their stylistic restlessness. The form of the work is always informed by the subject matter – taking style as highly important to the subject of the work itself and allowing that meaning cannot settle in form.
When you fall into a trance is the most recent feature-length film in a series of films by Wardill that develop a thesis on language, mediation and gesture. In the world of When you fall into a trance, four characters rotate and reveal themselves in a series of interconnected relationships. The splinted narrative traces the lead character of Dominique, a neuroscientist, together with Simon, her patient, Hugo her lover and her teenage daughter Tony, a synchronised swimmer. Dominique’s patient Simon, based on the real character of Ian Waterman, struggles with the loss of his proprioception, the ability to move his own body without seeing it. Throughout the film, his condition becomes a striking analogy, which intensifies Dominique’s fascination with the relationship between mind and body.
Technology, seduction, music and empathy are all central themes employed by Wardill. Formed partly through a process of improvisation with the actors, When you fall into a trance speaks to notions of politics and memory through a mixture of acted scenes, images which distort the body and spaces which fall together and fall apart. Wardill’s use of fragmentary editing and narrative devices deliver a film that intertwines dislocation and touch to investigate the interlinked complexities of motion and emotion. When you fall into a trance shares common ground with Wardill’s earlier films, such as Game Keepers without Game (2009) by continuing to scrutinize elements of social relations, psychoanalysis and representation. Game Keepers Without Game, Emily Wardill’s first feature-length film, takes Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s allegorical play Life is a Dream (La Vida es Suena, 1635) as its starting point. It tells the story of Stay, a girl put up for adoption due to her destructive behaviour. As part of the exhibition, Game Keepers without Game (2009), will be screened at Index on 1 October.
Emily Wardill lives and works in Lisbon and Brussels. Recent solo exhibitions include ARTES – Fundação Manuel António da Mota, Porto (2012–13), National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (2012); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2012), de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (2012), Contemporary Art Museum St Louis (2011), Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2007–08). In 2011 Wardill participated in the 54th Venice Biennale and in group exhibitions at Hayward Gallery, London; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. In 2010, Wardill was the recipient of the prestigious Jarman Award and in 2011 The Leverhulme Award. When you fall into a trance premiered at La Loge in Brussels earlier this year, and was included at the 19th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2014).
The exhibition is organized by Nathalie Åhbeck, Curator at Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation.
Index would like to give special thanks to Konstnärsnämnden, carlier | gebauer, Berlin, La Loge, Brussels and Peroni.