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Complicit Abstraction: Penny Siopis’ ‘This is a true story’ Zeitz MOCAA 14.02-15.07.2018

Monique Pelser
15 June 2018

A review by Monique Pelser

Penny Siopis’ ‘This is a true story: Six Films (1997-2017)’ on show at the Zeitz MOCAA Center for the Moving Image does an interesting thing.  Her films mess around with traditional methods of filmmaking —Super 8, 16mm— but open up another dimension, that of history.

Siopis uses the off-cut, overexposed, bleached or damaged material from the rolls and rolls of film that she has either found or bought, the footage that formally trained filmmakers would discard. These pieces of ready-made footage open up a space of abstraction in her narratives allowing new symbolic meaning to adhere.  

Last year I saw her live painting performance at the Maitland Institute. She got up, neatly dressed in her stylish black outfit and embodied her medium. She began by pouring paint and glue onto the canvas and then lifted the edges of the meters by meters long frame dripping and swirling the paint and glue around the surface. In grappling with that abstraction, entranced by the half-images emerging from this process, I, as the viewer, became implicit in the conversation.

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