Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation

08 Nov 2008 - 15 Feb 2009

© Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation
Girls at the Pool, 2005
Photographic still from The Rape of the Sabine Women
Photo: Benedikt Partenheimer
Courtesy: Roebling Hall, New York

8/11-15/2 09

Can an old court painting be transformed into a modern choreography? Eve Suss¬man does just that – and more – when she reinterprets myths and paintings from the history of art and turns them into filmed performance art.
Sussman isn’t alone in creating works that give the history of art new dimensions. The Rufus Corporation is a team of independent dancers, actors, visual artists and musicians who appear in her productions. Eve Sussman was born in 1961 in England and educated at Robert College in Istanbul, Canterbury University in New Zealand and Bennington College in Vermont. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where The Rufus Corporation is also based.

The exhibition
The exhibition Louisiana Contemporary – Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation comprises both the work 89 Seconds at Alcázar from 2004 and the latest production, The Rape of the Sabine Women from 2005. Besides the two film works 20 stills from the works are being shown.
In 89 Seconds at Alcázar Eve Sussman tries to create a minutely detailed, accurate film version of a Velázquez painting by setting up a live gallery of characters who mime the ‘cast’ of the painting. But the point of Sussman’s work is that the group of people to be depicted are never quite ready for the snapshot or still. They go on looking around, murmu¬ring and shifting their positions slightly. So Sussman never fulfils the viewer’s expectations of the final portrait, but so to speak deconstructs the climax of the work, focusing instead on the seconds before and after it. Sussman is more interested in the psychological interplay of the people than in the art history aspect, and the relationship between work and viewer is therefore always central to her productions.
As a contrast to this precise approach, the work The Rape of the Sabine Women is a free interpretation of the myth of the founding of Rome, visually inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s painting The Intervention of the Sabine Women from 1796-99. In her 83-minute film, which visualizes the whole myth on which the painting is based, Sussman applies an inno¬vative perspective by transposing the narrative and its actors to our own time and embedding more psychological layers in the film.
In both 89 Seconds at Alcázar and The Rape of the Sabine Women Eve Sussman has given improvisation a role in the filming. She has a script or storyboard, but gives the actors involved great freedom in the interpretation of the various scenes.

Tags: Eve Sussman