Internationally renowned artist Eve Sussman (London, 1961) lives and works in New York. Throughout her intense career she has produced numerous installations, employing filmic materials and often turning to “Cinéma vérité”. Her interest in observing people has led her to work with CCTV cameras, as for instance in the Istanbul Biennial in 1997.
In Sussman's eyes Las Meninas by Velázquez has all the qualities to constitute the first “Cinéma vérité”, qualities that only photography can possess, thus preceding it by some 200 years. There are different rationales within the work that subscribe to the interpretation that, as with photography, it captures a specific moment, which could have been before or after the one portrayed. Las Meninas has inspired many theorists as well as artists and has been historically venerated as an innovation due to its use of perspective whilst entering into dialogue with the viewer on the representation of the image. That said, Sussman has been the first to interpret it as a motion picture in 89 Seconds in the Alcázar, a high-definition digital video produced in collaboration with the Rufus Corporation group. In her treatment of the moving image, like the painting, each of her shots seem to analyse the possibility of truth each image can offer, the possibility of freezing a moment. With this she successfully makes perception, cognition, subjectivity and objectivity interact in such a way that the viewer becomes emotionally involved.
The video is also accompanied by the 'making of' to outline its production process. Besides calling upon an expert on Velázquez' work, Jonathan Brown, Sussman also collaborates with the architect Robert Whalley and the set designer Rebecca Graves in order to precisely recreate the Room in the Alcázar where the represented scene takes place. Furthermore, the costume designer, Karen Young, recreates the Baroque clothing by carrying out research in the Costume Institute. The composer Jonathan Bepler devises the soundtrack with over 64 tracks of field and vocal recordings with the aim of obtaining an atmospheric music score to bring the room to life. The project is a benchmark for analysing the meaning of an image and a way of reading past and present images in contemporary visual culture.
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