Metamorphosis

2013

video

3h36min

concept, costume, make-up and video

Valérie Reding

„Metamorphosis“ is an almost four-hour long video, uncut and recorded in one take, showing the continuous morphing from one character into the next one by the means of makeup, wigs and clothes, questioning the alleged boundaries between the genders.

“Pretend to be something else. Use your body as a canvas on which to paint an illusion. Then escape inside for a while.” (quote by Deanna Jean Monroe in the film „Gender X“, 2005, Julia Ostertag)

The gender categories and stereotypes appear like artificially constructed masks one paints on when one acts in the society. The makeup application

process is done almost mechanically, like a ritual, in order to underline the artificiality and inhumanness of these socially conceived categories.

Through the long showing of the makeup application, the psychological strains, which these socially constructed constraints and preconceived roles impose on the individual, become physically perceptible for the artist herself as well as for the empathising observer. „Metamorphosis“ explores the performativity of gender. The multiple hours long procedure of construction and deconstruction of subjectivities suggests that identity is not stable or clearly definable, but on the contrary convertible, modulatable and fluid. Individual (gender) identity is a continuous, never ending process, engaged in a permanent metamorphosis. In the video, particularly the „in between“ moments, where one subjectivity is being destroyed while another one is already emerging, explore the potential of the conception of „identity“ as a nonlinear narrative, based on fragmentation, multiplicity, simultaneity, inconsistency and unfinishedness.

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©2019 Valérie Reding