STARTPOINT PRIZE FOR EMERGING ARTISTS 2014 ARTIST CATALOGUE

 

PROLOGUE 

Ine Lamers, visual artist.

Based in Rotterdam. NL.

 

On and off screen affect.

Kijk eens naar mij”, (EN: "look at me”), says Lisa, the director,
and camera-operator, on and off screen to her mother.
Outside our hearing, we imagine that she adds “and keep looking,... keep looking,... to the point of exhaustion”.
Her mothers’ gaze is soft, but not irritated.

A year later, on a film-set in a small town in Spain, Lisa repeats the phrase to another person,
one who she doesn’t know as well.. In a moderated and indirect manner, she asks: “could she look at me?”.
Her question is quickly translated to the Spanish actress, who happily glances at the camera in response,
while continuing to dance with manifest joy.

Cut scene and a middle- aged woman seems glued to a chair.
Her face is obscurely lit and her glances alternate from the left corner,
into the camera, then she closes her eyelids.
During this minute- long shot we hear her voice off- screen, repeatedly shouting "ik heet Emily Peters!",
(EN: 'my name is E.P.) her voice breaks when she coughs, but she continues to shout.

Through elongated shots and swaying instants Lisa Vlietstra's works pin us to the ground.
They are fragile moments, intimate moments and impressions, which force us to look.

They are disquieting encounters which force us to interpret.

Lisa creates video works which balance real life and the cinema. Lisa's real life and ours.
Starting with a personal encounter, a memory, or affect,
and with a great dose of cinematographic talent, she composes imagery and scenes,
which resonate and compel the spectators to look longer.
Even in a relatively short time, she started making videos in 2012,
Lisa has managed to develop her cinematographic language and produce a body of captivating works,
two of which I address here.

When in ‘Look at me’ Lisa portrays her mother in homely surroundings, the camera stands still and waits.
A sequence of beautifully composed tableaux transmit an unsettling sense of a void.
We see Lisa's mother, in staged poses, sometimes in the company of her partner.
In one scene she appears strangled in his arms, as if they never will loosen up again.
The long durational shots reveal something which was hidden under the cover of the 'clumsy' the 'ordinary'. '
The looking in 'Look at me' is an act of dissecting,
of looking anew with attention to the familiar (and the self) and playing out the drama of life.
Lisa tests, experiments, not only with her protagonists.
We watch ourselves watching a complex and intriguing play between director and actress,
memory and momentary, in which the camera is a tool for 'the real'.

Whereas 'Look at me’ persistently evokes melancholy and a sense of loss,
the work in progress (2015) 'I am you right on the other side of the rainbow' speaks to us in a lighter tone.
Here the camera is on the move, it slides through the village Belalcazar in Spain by night.
While singing their Fado like songs and dancing to Spanish music,
a carnivalesque group of beautifully dressed,
wonderfully masked women perform scenes of a melodrama like frame story.
Lisa asked them to improvise on the basis of their own experiences and the village at night became the stage set.

The camera is an attentive witness, a participant and at times, even an intimate friend.
We see fragments of lives and feel drawn to these characters, who so willingly share their pleasure and their grief.
There is a flirtatious gaze, and the spectator responds with “empathic identification”. '
I am you...
' draws us in, and the way the work opens up to the viewer, and playfully moves between genres and styles, promises a great young filmmaker amidst us.
One who is not afraid of 'otherness' but is continuously embracing it, elegantly dancing and sliding...