Magazine article Artforum International

Susanne M. Winterling: Daniel Reich Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Susanne M. Winterling: Daniel Reich Gallery

Article excerpt

Lap dissolves have lost much of the appeal they had back when Citizen Kane (1941) introduced the Xanadu manse through an ominous series of overlapping images, each fading out as the subsequent one faded in, or when La Jetee (1962) utilized the transition for a more subjective sequence in which, according to the narrator, "images begin to ooze like confessions." By now, our eyes have become so conditioned by the more jarring interruptions of jump cuts and channel hops that multiple fade-outs and fade-ins seem rather hokey, relegated to "lesser" forms like screen savers and club visuals.

What, then, to make of Berlin-based artist Susanne M. Winterling's video montage Piles of Shade, 2006, on view in her recent exhibition "I'll be your mirror, but i'll dissolve ..." at Daniel Reich Gallery? Transitioning into one another via watery dissolves, the work's images, culled in part from books, magazines, and record covers, depict what the artist calls "female icons"--a stream that includes an androgynous fashion model, Left Bank figures of the 1920s and '30s, and Annemarie Schwarzenbach (a Swiss writer, photographer, and aristocrat-cum-radical). At one point, a multiple-exposure silhouette of Winterling, actress Tilda Swinton, and singer Brigitte Fontaine freezes in an acid-bright tableau that is a template for the synthetic sensibility expressed throughout the show. Identity, particularly female identity, here seems to be considered a collective blend rather than something unique to the individual.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Winterling portrays women in the process of becoming themselves, a process sometimes halted by societal forces (here represented, in a collage titled Por-cellanpferd, 2007, by a still from Werner Fassbinder's 1974 film Effi Briest that shows the disenfranchised title character in bed, gazing off to the side) and sometimes verging on becoming one another. In the video Le sens pratique, 2005, for example, two female figures wearing black stand against a black background continually swapping a beige Burberry trench coat; one woman reaches around the other's shoulders to dress her, an action that verges on an embrace. …

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