Weed Killer (2017) by Los Angeles based artist Patrick Staff was inspired by artist-writer Catherine Lord’s memoir The Summer of Her Baldness (2004) — a moving and often irreverent account of the author’s experience of cancer. At the heart of Weed Killer is a monologue — adapted from Lord’s moving and often irreverent book — in which an actress reflects upon the chemically induced devastation of chemotherapy. This monologue is intertwined with comparatively otherworldly sequences, including choreographic gestures shot with high-definition thermal imaging. Weed Killer suggests a complex relationship to one’s own suffering and draws into focus the fine line between alternately poisonous and curative substances.
This screening will feature a series of other works selected by Staff expanding on the themes explored in Weed Killer. The screening will be introduced by academic and writer, Laura Guy.
Jamie Crewe, Terms, 2018. Reading, 3 minJamie Crewe, Teleny, 2015. HD video, 22 minsSandra Lahire, Terminals, 1987. SD Video, 11 minutesPatrick Staff, depollute, 2018. 16mm transferred to HD video, 2 minsPatrick Staff, Weed Killer, 2017. HD video 17 mins
Total run time: 55 min
This screening coincides with Patrick Staff’s major new exhibition The Prince of Homburg at Dundee Contemporary Arts which runs from 23 June until 1 September, 2019 (co-commissioned by Dundee Contemporary Arts and IMMA).
Patrick Staff lives and works in Los Angeles. Their work combines video installation, performance and publishing. They have exhibited extensively, gaining significant recognition and awards for their work which is held in private and public collections internationally. Staff received their BA in Fine Art and Contemporary Critical Studies from Goldsmiths University of London in 2009. They completed the LUX Associate Artists Programme and studied Contemporary Dance at The Place in London, in 2011. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2017); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2017); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2016); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2016); Serpentine Galleries, London (2015); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2015); Tate Liverpool, England (2014); Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles (2012); Tate Modern, London (2012), and Whitstable Biennale, Whitstable, England (2012), among others. Staff’s 2017 film work Weed Killer was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Patrick Staff’s solo exhibition The Prince of Homburg opens at Dundee Contemporary Arts on 22 June and runs until 1 September, 2019.
Laura Guy works as an Academic Fellow in Art History at Newcastle University. She has published various essays and interviews including on the work of Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Phyllis Christopher, Jamie Crewe, Zoe Leonard, Jill Posener, Charlotte Prodger and Rehana Zaman. Her writing on recent histories of lesbian visual culture has appeared in Aperture, Photoworks and Women: A Cultural Review (forthcoming).
Jamie Crewe is a beautiful bronze figure with a polished cocotte’s head. They live and work in Glasgow.
Teleny (2015) is a video originally shown alongside the paintings Socrates and Alcibiades, the print and sculptural work Medea, and Xantippe, who is an electric fan. It is a partial adaptation of Teleny, or the Reverse of the Medal, an anonymous pornographic novel published in 1893. Scenes of dialogue between the characters Briancourt, Camille and Teleny are staged, acted by an amateur cast, scripts in hand, against a set dressed with cheap flowers and green drapery. Through chroma keying these green spaces are removed, revealing scenes from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Medea (1969) underneath, occasionally scored by Erik Satie’s Socrate (1918) and John Cage’s Cheap Imitation (1969). In this cesspool playground of collaged materials, Teleny tests the intrusion of the feminine into male homoerotic couplings.
Sandra Lahire was born in 1950. She studied Philosophy at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne (BA), Fine Art Film at St Martins School of Art (BA 1984) and Film & Environmental Media at the Royal College of Art (MA 1986).
Her films have been shown nationally and internationally at cinemas and festivals including Creteil, Locarno, Berlin, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Turin, Jerusalem, Australia and the Philippines. Writings include Lesbians in Media Education published in Visibly Female (ed Hilary Robinson, Camden Press 1987) and articles for Undercut. She also wrote a musical score for Lis Rhodes’ film Just About Now. She passed away in 2001.
Terminals (1987) is a stream-of-consciousness collage, which asks us to look at and question the dangers of technological advances and nuclear power.
“The ‘work faster’ ethic is written on the door to the terminals. Hazards to fertility or risks of cancer are not criteria in setting ‘acceptable’ levels of exposure to radiation at work. At the Visual Display Terminal, women are staring directly at a source of radiation. Bomb tests and waste disposal are the white man’s cancer imposed on the people of the Pacific.” – S.L.