Susan Hiller | Fondazione Antonio Ratti | 15 July–8 September 2011
Spazio Culturale Antonio Ratti, Largo Spallino 1, Como Italy

Susan Hiller’s exhibition is centred on the impressing and fascinating 5-channel installation PSI Girls (1999), showed in Italy for the first time and installed specifically for the space of the Church of San Francesco.

PSI Girls presents five brief loop sequences of girls with paranormal telekinetic powers, depicted while concentrated in producing the movement of an object with the strength of their mind. The sequences are taken from five famous films (The Fury by Brian De Palma, 1978; The Craft by Andrew Fleming, 1996; Matilda by Danny De Vito, 1996; Firestarter by Mark Lester, 1984, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, 1979) whose colours were altered by Susan Hiller. The artist transformed each film in a blue, yellow, red, purple and green monochrome. The original audio of the films was replaced by a single soundtrack, taken from the record of a gospel choir of St. George’s Cathedral of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

The colours slide from one sequence to another in a casual way, and are projected in the surrounding environment, thus producing a constant alteration of the perception of the surrounding space. The alternation of sound and silence, together with the moving colours and the length of the single sequences, creates the hypnotic effect of a performative work that is constantly changing. This work immerses the viewer in a iridescent perceptive flux, and offers many possibilities of being seen and interpreted: from the representation of the “alienated” condition of the teenager, to that of the feminine identity; from the use of fonts to the artist’s possibilities of championing and manipulation, from a possible reflection on power, to that of the production of the contemporary imagery of the gender movie.

These images oscillate between different dimensions that go from the dreamlike experience, between alienation and activity, to a field of seduction from the latent erotism of the sequences, and even to a more contemplative dimension. The Aura: Homage to Marcel Duchamp (2011), a photographic installation conceived by the artist for the exhibition that accompanies PSI Girls, contribute to set the Church of San Francesco in an obscure, mysterious, disturbing, but perhaps revealing environment. 

The exhibition opens way to a dialogue between art, illusion, magic and alteration of perception, themes close both to the great tradition of history of art of late Modernity, and with the instances explored by Susan Hiller during the workshop The Dream Seminar II.”

-JO