Saturday, February 20, 2010

Doa Aly at Townhouse

The Girl Splendid in Walking, courtesy of the artist

The Girl Splendid in Walking was on view at Townhouse Gallery from 31 January to 17 February.

Doa Aly describes her practice as an exploration of movement, and how we think and feel in view of this movement. As we walk through the layers of references in her exhibition The Girl Splendid in Walking, it becomes evident that Aly’s most recent work has stumbled upon a more layered exploration of the idea of movement: how it transforms us and how we transform it. Such an assessment can be drawn from the experience of seeing her two films in tandem (The Girl Splendid in Walking and Sequence One in Four Movements). We as the audience are forced to confront our own transformation, how we see these transformations, how we see ourselves, and how this metamorphosis ultimately affects our being.

The Girl Splendid in Walking is based on Wilhelm Jensen’s 1903 novel Gradiva. Infatuated by an archaic Roman frieze of a girl in a peculiar walking motion, Jensen wrote a story about obsession and delusion. While the sculptor and inspiration source of the frieze remain unknown, it has gained status as an icon of desire and delusion, mostly on the back of the novel’s plot and has been appropriated in art and popular culture. Notions of obsession, appropriation and authorship are investigated in Aly’s video. She continuous to explore the physical and mental processes related to movement; in this case Gradiva’s walk. There is a repeated attempt to re-enact and recreate the walk, but more importantly, what is represents, especially in the scene of the twins recreating her silhouette on the large metal disk, which they later contemplate at to realize their dream.

Following you will find three different responses to Doa’s recent video installation at the Townhouse. Instead of building off one another, they view the works from different angles. It is not a conversation in the traditional sense, but from these three interpretations, a more encompassing image of the dense, meaning-layered installation becomes evident.

Sequence One - In Four Movements, courtesy of the artist

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