Weekly Update – Antiheroes at Grizzly Grizzly this Friday

It’s antihero time at Grizzly Grizzly—in video, two artists parody classic heroes with acts of mock-heroism against the non-monsters of clutter, trash and darkness. Chris Carroll’s short videos deal with the man/nature relationship, all ominous foreplay with no payback. In his Branta Branta series, a two-second clip of a goose attacking a goose decoy is stuttered to rock backward and forward; in repetition, the animal’s action is mesmerizing and poignant, eternal violence and eternal failure. In another video, the artist walks waist-deep in a river running under a small stone bridge, disappearing into the darkness under the bridge to light a flare, which burns out like Dirty Harry’s gun misfiring—promise dissipated.

Madeline Stillwell tussles with debris (top) and Chris Carroll goes into the heart of darkness, in videos at Grizzly Grizzly

Madeline Stillwell’s videos are of herself locked in mock-heroic battle with piles of architectural debris. It’s a mix of acrobatics, dance and slow-motion Hollywood disaster scene as the artist—done up as a trash-picking Tarzan—rolls on the floor amidst broken windows, plywood, dropcloths, ropes and plaster debris. The piece could stand in contrast to the great guerilla feminist performance artist Valie Export, who actually performed heroic actions, like walking into a full Munich art-house theater in crotchless pants and encouraging people to look at her (the title of that 1969 work, the point of which was to draw attention to women’s passive depictions in cinema, was Aktionshose: Genitalpanik (Action Pants: Genital Panic). Stillwell’s piece is almost a parody of Export, and kind of pitiful, perhaps purposefully so. But, like Carroll’s work, it still manages to feel oddly grand and mythic.


Read this article at Philadelphia Weekly.