In an abstract space, with a greyness that makes it both gloomy and bright, a woman and a man of delicate and austere beauty sit at a dinner table.
Elegant and proud, the two are closed up in a space overflowing with fascination and seductiveness; they face each other in a quick and quiet “dialogue” that is subtly cruel and intense, becoming more and more disturbing as they go on
From the string of images and actions, there emerges a murkiness that is animated and full of sophisticated perversion, shifting between beauty and aberration.
‘Oh …you know her’ displays the ambiguous, ambivalent nature of the relationship between man and woman, between victim and executioner. The controversial Hegelian theme of servant-master dialectics is evident. Interchangeable roles leads the two sides – at the climax of their interaction – to impending permutation: each encourages emulation and identification from the other.
Who’s the victim? And who’s the executioner?
The use of a symbol such as ash (which indirectly brings to mind fire, the very starting point for ash) strengthens the dialectics and leads to a similitude: just as there’s no victim without an executioner, there’s no ash without fire. Ash, the cold and purified residue of combustion after the fire is extinguished, is a symbol of purification and resurrection, but also of death, evanescence and insubstantiality. Fire becomes ash, but there’s no longer any distinction to be made: man-woman, victim-executioner, horror-fascination, manipulator-manipulated. All melts into an individual grave, the resting place for the prandial urn of the man and the woman, as well as for the victim and the executioner. There’s neither loser nor winner.
During the making of the video, commissioned by the “Fondazione Pecci”, the artists – a man and a woman – unexpectedly experienced what the work presents. Knowingly and disconcertingly, the man hinders the woman’s actions, wounding her. Condescendingly and accommodatingly, she humours him. Becoming aware of the game being played, the woman rebels by tearing the wounds off her body, the very wounds that could destroy her.
The work of art was not approved by the client, since the director felt that it was not relevant for the show it was to be part of. Some time later, however, the authors realized that, more than anything else, the work was a representation of themselves and the dynamics between them: a continuous series of conflicts and explanations which put an end to them working together as artists and changed their friendship. Despite this, they would still like to keep alive the creative essence of what came out from the experience.
- Genere Art video
- Written & Directed by Stefania Bonatelli & Andres Arce Maldonado
- Director of Photography Andres Arce Maldonado & Stefania Bonatelli
- Music & Sound design by Enrico Ascoli
- Performers Roberto Zibetti & Agnieszka Slupska
- Text by Barbara Casalaspro
- Country of Production Rome – Italy
- Length 5’37’’
- Year of Production 2008
- Production Format HD
- Presentation Format DVD