Purple Television

[November 10 2022] : film

Michele Lamy presents “Limbo” a contemporary still-life film

Michele Lamy presents “Limbo” a contemporary still-life film

Michele Lamy‘s ‘LIMBO,’ a contemporary still-life film by Michèle, in collaboration with the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Art (CIRCA), is broadcasting every evening throughout November at 20:22 local time on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights and across screens in Berlin, Melbourne, and Tokyo.

Directed by Amanda Demme and Mollie Mills, LIMBO poses an un-retouched and tender meditation of female autonomy, love and vulnerability.

But wait! For something came before.

You have been observed now for a while whilst time is suspended by this stare – hers. For it is she who looks at
you and you who notices her. Let me explain this nuance, which has to do with time-stopping and with you who
are watching, as witnesses, this gaze gleaming from beneath her charcoal eyelids. So fixed, her stare does not
express any recognisable emotion, and besides – the paradox is apparent – she does not see you since you have to
be there for her to look at you.

When you look at her hand on the bed, you see claws. Griffin, sphinx, witches, and female figures who summon
animalistic bodies and esoteric knowledge are often associated with old age by a heterosexual male world still
anxious about its power. Against this world which condemns them to either witchcraft or invisibility – and often
to both – there have been vigorous nude self-portraits by women painters, Maria Lassnig or Alice Neel, for
example. At the age of 80 or so, they portrayed themselves as they wished – brush in hand or pistol pointed at
the viewers – outraged that artists who are women are most often treated like kids or “unworthy old ladies“,
which is not very different. Like Louise Bourgeois, whose public image, during the end of her long life, bounced
between the cultural stereotypes of the “old woman” and the “child” traumatised by her father’s infidelity – as if,
at more than 90 years of age, one still only existed by being someone’s daughter! What has always struck me in
the paintings of Alice Neel, Maria Lassnig, or the works of Louise Bourgeois is the total absence of remorse for
the bodies they might have had in another life, the one before.
In the same way, in Michèle Lamy’s work, I see no longing for a body that society would consider radically
different, which, in fact, would have been worthy of being shown and displayed. Instead, she wears her skin
without explaining anything. There is nothing to explain. Her skin is enough.

Extract by Élisabeth Lebovici

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