CAPC
musée d'art contemporain
de Bordeaux

Lili Reynaud-Dewar

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Black Mariah (The Woman’s Films and Performance Objects), 2009

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Purchased in 2010 at the Mary Mary Gallery (Glasgow)

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Installation, 2009,

Fabric garment, leather covered stick
3A painted wood, chair, screen and DVD of about 20 three-minute sequences of the performance.
Various dimensions 


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Black Mariah is a sculptural and performance installation. It directly refers to the name of the first movie studio in which Edison, at the end of the 19th century, experimented with his invention, the kinetoscope. The small white stage of the “Black Maria” studio was specifically built for filmed performances. It welcomed all the kinds of performance artists the United States had to offer for the new genre: the strongest man in the world (Sandoz), rifle shooting women, belly dancers, etc... What interests Lili Reynaud-Dewar in this unique form is more than the variety of marginals in performance art, but the unique character of the filmed performances. The format straddles both cinema and performance art, which she has chosen to repeat one century later by recreating the shooting environment of the Black Maria. On the small white stage  and in front of the dark backgrounds, Lili Reynaud-Dewar staged an array of performers, for each of whom she has created a set of objects and a characteristic costume. Filmed in still, it generated a series of quiet videos. The resulting art is comprised of three wood elements assembled to form the letter A, a wood chair where a vest hangs, a painted wood screen and a leather covered stick. Black Mariah (The Woman’s Performance Objects) includes the objects of the performers who collaborate with Reynaud-Dewar. Mary Knox, regular performer with the artist and a fixture in the British nightlife, is also associated with objects likely to question identity and artifices. Black Mariah (The Woman’s films) presents all quiet videos with Mary Knox on the stage of the Black Maria, as well as short playlets, burlesque or sexy, set like caricatures of feminine stereotypes such as the home makes or the woman putting on makeup.

The installation was presented with the two personal exhibits of the artist at the Art centre of Pougues-les-Eaux and at the Frac Champagne-Ardennes. The artist had a vast personal exhibit at the Basel Kunsthalle in April 2010. One of her pieces has just been acquired by the Centre Pompidou.

Professor at the Bordeaux École des beaux-arts, Lili Reynaud-Dewar created the scenography of the IAO, explorations psychéliques en France, 1968 - ∞ exhibit in 2008. For the exhibition, (featuring archives and music and movie performances re-enactments) she designed a structure that was both a monumental sculpture and stage prop (curtains and backdrop). 

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