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Ursula major: surrealism with the stars


The movie GONDA undercuts standards dealing with a transgender model (Photo: Still from Gonda)

June 5, 2014
07:02

by Emily Shaw


Moderna Museet Malmö, Ola Billgrens plats 2–4, Malmö ; opens June 6

An exhibition featuring the work of Ursula Mayer, an Austrian artist known for her filmmaking. The show includes two of her recent films, GONDA and The Lunch in Fur.

Mayer’s 2012 film GONDA takes inspiration from Ayn Rand’s 1934 play Ideal – however it doesn’t necessarily comply with Rand’s conservative views.

The film focuses on transgender model Valentijn de Hingh in a post-apocalyptic landscape. The film is nonlinear and disorientating, with flashes of photos, film and colour, and a fractured manuscript written in collaboration with Maria Fusco. GONDA undercuts standards: norms such as gender identity and language are shown “in the process of dissolving”.

It is a film that subverts not only cinematic conventions, but our conception of the world as we know it. 

The exhibition also features Mayer’s 2008 film The Lunch in Fur/Le Déjeuner en Fourrure. The title is a reference to the iconic surrealist piece – a furry teacup – created by Méret Oppenheim in 1936. The film appropriately features the surrealist, as well as two other artists of the interwar period: Josephine Baker and the photographer Dora Maar. 

The film lets the viewer witness a meeting between the three famous women. Set in the 1960s well after their heyday, they recall memories of their past glory.