Ene-Liis Semper: Galerie Martin Janda Raum Aktueller Kunst

By Huck, Brigitte | Artforum International, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Ene-Liis Semper: Galerie Martin Janda Raum Aktueller Kunst


Huck, Brigitte, Artforum International


Ene-Liis Semper likes to cast herself in the leading role. Whether the Estonian artist is testing out different methods for suicide (as in FF/REW, 1998) or living out hygienic obsessions in a white-tiled space (Licked Room, 2000), her concrete physical presence as an engaged body is the basis for videos that take their measure from reality. All the more confusing, then, the laconic text in her most recent video, Untitled, 2004: "You'll not see me in this video," it reads, "because I am inside the rabbit." What follows is a three-minute-twenty-second excursus on the interdependence of relationships. Semper's husband and daughter sit at a table playing baby games. The idyllic, generic scene grows gloomy when one learns from a wall text that the Daddy in the striped sweater betrayed Mommy. In light of the tawdriness of the situation, Mommy hides in an XXL rabbit costume. On the stage of a gymnasium, the rabbit starts boxing against an imaginary opponent, sparring against the betrayal itself, and, at the end, lies on her back on the ground and plays dead. An intertitle announces, "I feel like dying," while the ticking noise on the sound track comes to a stop.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Usually, I do not make stories about my real life," the artist says. "Mainly my works are more like mental 'results' of my living here and now, not quotes of everyday situations, but I just could not resist the temptation to make a video of the situation I was in a couple of months ago with my very first baby, my beloved partner, and myself. The banality of the situation cut me out of my confiding happiness." With Untitled, seen in Vienna after its first presentation at Kiasma in Helsinki, Semper puts a situation into images as it could not be in the everyday. …

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