Artist: Shana Moulton
Exhibition title: Mood Swings
Venue: Crèvecoeur, Paris, France
Date: September 16 – October 15, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Crèvecoeur, Paris
For her second solo show at Crèvecoeur, Shana Moulton continues to explore her alter-ego Cynthia’s ability to conjure portals inside her domestic space, thus connecting different dimensions, locations and moments of the life that we have watched since 2002, through almost twenty episodes.
Throughout the years, we have followed the Chaplinesque mute character dressed in house-robes engage parallel experiences, shifting from a house full of therapeutic, decorative and homeopathic objects to majestic natural landscapes where she can finally feel free. Cynthia is on a never-ending journey to overcome the isolation, anxiety and hypochondria triggered by the digital world and personal development television commercials.
Among the works in the show features a sculptural installation, “Woman peering through the wall to the cosmetic spheres” with a mannequin passing through a wall. These pieces evoke Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, an early work of American feminist literature published in 1892 that addressed the lack of life outside the home and the pressures of a patriarchal society. The main character is strongly advised to stay home in order to go through what her husband considers a depressive episode and becomes obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper of her room. In the end, she imagines there are women creeping around behind the patterns of the wallpaper and comes to believe she is one of them.
Also refering to the short story, the new video “Act one from Whispering Pines 10” (with Nick Hallett) displays Cynthia emulating a contemporary heroic ecologist militant, Julia “Butterfly” Hill, who lived 738 days in a Giant sequoia to avoid its destruction.
“Feed the Soul” suggests the different steps of self-actualization that Cynthia experiments throughout her ongoing journey.
“Life as an INFJ” refers to the Egyptian practice of embalming where the mummified organs were placed in canopic jars, next to the body. At Cynthia’s place, the tchotchkes in her bathroom become canopic jars to hold her organs. INFJ (Introversion + Intuition + Feeling + Judging) is one of the 16 personality types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – one of the definitions of Cynthia.
Going beyond the humourous, Mood Swings pursues the artist’s attempts to find her own method of freeing herself from contemporary oppressive forces.
Shana Moulton lives and works in Oakhurst, California. She has had solo exhibitions or performances at The New Museum, SFMOMA, MoMA P.S.1, Performa 2009, The Kitchen, Art in General, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Palais De Tokyo, The Migros Museum, The Kunsthaus Glarus, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Times Museum in Guangzhou.