Ellen Cantor at Wattis

February 6th, 2016

Ellen Cantor at Wattis

Artist: Ellen Cantor

Venue: Wattis, San Francisco

Exhibition Title: Cinderella Syndrome

Date: December 8 – February 13, 2016

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Ellen Cantor at Wattis

Ellen Cantor at Wattis

Ellen Cantor at Wattis

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy of CCA Wattis Institute. Photos by Johnna Arnold.

Press Release:

San Francisco, Calif., November 2, 2015—The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco will present an exhibition of videos and drawings by Ellen Cantor (1961–2013). The exhibition preview is on December 8, 2015, and runs through February 13, 2016. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

A prolific artist who lived in both New York and London, Cantor combined ready-made materials with diaristic notes and drawings to probe her perceptions and experiences of personal desire and institutional violence. In her drawings, paintings, collages, and videos, Cantor lifted characters and sequences from iconic films, reorienting the ideological transmissions of the source material. Fictional figures from Disney cartoons, cult horror films, New Wave cinema, and family movies provide a visual foil to Cantor’s intimate disclosures. Magnetized by the doleful naivety of characters such as Snow White and Bambi, Cantor would, in her drawings, extend their narrative horizons to include graphic sexual encounters and crisis-ridden relationships.

For the final eight years of her life, Cantor was working on the feature-length film Pinochet Porn. Originally a suite of drawings named Circus Lives from Hell (2005), Pinochet Porn is an episodic narrative about five children growing up under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Featuring a cast of close friends and collaborators, and shot in New York and London, Pinochet Porn stages a libidinal critique of the systematic and sadistic destruction of self-expression and experience.

Cantor’s solo exhibitions included Within a Budding Grove, Participant Inc., New York (2008); Bambi’s Beastly Buddies, Sketch, London (2005); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2000); My Perversion is the Belief in True Love, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (1999); Video 1995–1998, Kunstverein Salzburg (1999); and Remember the 14 Days and Nights, Vorarlberger Kunstverein, Bregenz (1997).

Ellen Cantor’s exhibition will travel to Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Spring 2016. Fatima Hellberg, artistic director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, is co-curator of the exhibition alongside Jamie Stevens, curator and head of programs at the CCA Wattis Institute.

Link: Ellen Cantor at Wattis

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