Chimera

An Installation by Elaine Shemilt and Stephen Partridge; four channel 8 screen video projection onto latex for the Society of Scottish Artists, Annual Exhibition, Royal Academy Building, Edinburgh, 1998.

This work is the first manifestation of a collaborative programme initiated in 1997 between the two artists, bringing together experience and ideas from still and moving image-making.

Within a sexually differentiating society all our experiences are shaped to a greater or lesser extent by socially determined gender positions.

The body of a woman is colonised, appropriated, mystified, defined by male fantasy, but for an audience of women the same body can represent fertility, childbearing, or sexuality. This piece explores these representations as a differentiation from sexist usage.

By exposing the patriarchal assumptions embedded within what we so often take for granted as normal or obvious, other ways of seeing and feeling are liberated. This work which reflects attitudes through certain acts and imagery also recognises a level of gratuitous nudity . There is the question of where this transgresses an unwritten code of what a reasonable person might take to be decent?

There are elements in this installation which have definite and clear connotations within distinct cultural references. There are particular codes to produce meanings but the aim of this installation is to create new meanings. The traditional, coherent systems of meaning are broken and re-articulated. The use of language is intended as a further deconstruction of the current order of meaning so as to make a space for questions about an adult person’s actual social, biological, or psychological experience.

Description

The four channels of video each project two images upon the latex screens. The images are close-ups of part of a female body – not necessarily immediately recognisable as such and almost still. They have a ghostly ethereal atmosphere and quality. A multi-track soundtrack whispers a series of dreams quite unlike stories told by a conscious mind. Images that seem contradictory crowd in and common-place things assume a fascinating or threatening aspect.

Elaine Shemilt
‘Chimera’
Four channel 8 screen video projection onto latex
Annual Exhibition, Royal Academy Building, Edinburgh
1998
© Elaine Shemilt Stephen Partridge

Elaine Shemilt
‘Chimera’
Four channel 8 screen video projection onto latex
Annual Exhibition, Royal Academy Building, Edinburgh
1998
© Elaine Shemilt Stephen Partridge

Elaine Shemilt
‘Chimera’
Four channel 8 screen video projection onto latex
Annual Exhibition, Royal Academy Building, Edinburgh
1998
© Elaine Shemilt Stephen Partridge

Elaine Shemilt
‘Chimera’
Four channel 8 screen video projection onto latex
Annual Exhibition, Royal Academy Building, Edinburgh
1998
© Elaine Shemilt Stephen Partridge

Elaine Shemilt
‘Chimera’
Four channel 8 screen video projection onto latex
Annual Exhibition, Royal Academy Building, Edinburgh
1998
© Elaine Shemilt Stephen Partridge