Ellen Cantor: Cinderella Syndrome
Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA.
December 8, 2015 – February 13, 2015
An exhibition of videos and drawings by Ellen Cantor (1961–2013).
A prolific artist who lived between New York and London, Cantor combined ready–made materials with diaristic notes and drawings to probe her perceptions and experiences of personal desire and institutional violence.
In her drawings, paintings, collages, and videos, Cantor lifted characters and sequences from iconic films, reorienting the ideological transmissions of the source material. Fictional figures from Disney cartoons, cult horror films, New Wave cinema, and family movies provide a visual foil to Cantor’s intimate disclosures. Magnetized by the doeful naivety of characters such as Snow White and Bambi, Cantor would, in her drawings, extend their narrative horizons to include vivid sexual encounters and crisis–ridden relationships.
For the final eight years of her life, Cantor was working on the feature–length film Pinochet Porn. Originally a suite of drawings named Circus Lives from Hell (2005), Pinochet Porn is an episodic narrative about five children growing up under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Featuring a cast of close friends and collaborators, and shot in New York and London, Pinochet Porn stages a libidinal critique of the systematic and sadistic destruction of self–expression and experience.
Cantor’s solo exhibitions included Within a Budding Grove, Participant Inc., New York (2008); Bambi’s Beastly Buddies, Sketch, London (2005); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2000); My Perversion is the Belief in True Love, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (1999); Video 1995–1998, Kunstverein Salzburg (1999); and Remember the 14 Days and Nights, Vorarlberger Kunstverein, Bregenz (1997).
This exhibition is co–curated by Jamie Stevens and Fatima Hellberg, and is made possible by Kulturstiftung des Bundes, with special thanks to Lia Gangitano and Participant Inc, New York. The exhibition travels to Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Spring 2016.