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During the last decade, Anne Imhof has become one of the leading figures in a new generation of visual and performing arts. Her work “Untitled (Wave)” (2021), in which her partner and collaborator Eliza Douglas stars, is shown here in the Capela das Albertas at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, a chapel formerly used solely by women in confinement. With this exploration of image and movement, the artist creates resonance between questions around ideas of the feminine, worship and immateriality. Referring also to the history of art and aesthetic discourse, particularly to the concept of the sublime associated with the romantic period of contemplation of nature, of bleak and desolate landscapes conveying the smallness of the scale of the individual before the grandeur of the universe.
The film shows a woman, naked from the waist up, dressed simply in tracksuit trousers, long black hair, feet dipped in the water, holding a whip, the waves rolling onto the sand. Eliza Douglas is the performer of this vision that frames the female body as daring, beating the waves, before the immensity of a horizon of rebellious waters.
A unique and repetitive action can be seen – whipping – changing in direction, diverging in rhythm, in the shape of the circles that the movements of the arm and body draw in the air before inflicting an aggression on the water.
Anne Imhof, Untitled (Wave), 2021
Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Buchholz, Sprüth Magers
With: Eliza Douglas
Filmmaker: Jean-René Étienne, Lola Raban-Oliva
Music: Eliza Douglas, Minor Chord, 2020
Support: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga