Day 16 | Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli

I am searching for the moment of transition where when wearing red lipstick while walking down the street I suddenly become an object for viewing, and is this a changeable reality?

I make films and videos and perform within them. My engagement with the lens is an intimate performance as I control the entire shooting process, but as a result the lens is also distant and isolated as it is the only Other present. I work in this dynamic specifically to examine the portrayal of women and femininity in cinema—how the cinema has fragmented female identity, specifically my own. I perform multiple characters for my camera in order to manifest the multitude of facets cinema proposes as feminine. This multitude is represented as a set of three characters divined from psychoanalysis or a singular character that is visually multiplied on screen or composited from aesthetics referential to cinema’s idealized woman.

I also break down the habitual cinema structures that imprison femininity. I am interested in the gaze of the camera as objectifier and how the close-up disembodies and symbolically fragments the female star. The cut is my tool for opening up the interstitial and freeing the woman from the object gaze. Often I utilize time and motion (speed adjustments in editing or holding a still pose) to suspend the construct, the female star in the very unreality of cinema, in order to foreground the moments that evince objectification.

My work therefore is a gathering of cinematic fragments of myself, but by extension also the gathering up of the entire category of female identity, which continues to suffer from the codifying of the feminine image in popular culture. I find instability in women using sex and sexiness for empowerment, there is a conflict as women continue to become sex objects despite their “owning it” on the screen, in art, and in the streets. I am searching for the moment of transition (the cut) where when wearing red lipstick (close-up) while walking down the street I suddenly (freeze frame) become an object for viewing (the gaze), and is this a changeable reality?

andSHEwasn’t, 2007


untitled still film #10 & #27, 2007


the untitled still film, 2003


Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli – New York New York

5 thoughts on “Day 16 | Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli

  1. i was really curious to see Lavatelli’s videos and then i missed them. From what I have seen on [PAM] and her website, I think that the references to Cindy Sherman’s film stills are great. i did get to see “andSHEwasn’t” and it has stuck in my head ever since. the use of color and harsh spot-lighting is unique and voyeuristic.

  2. What interests me most about the untitled still films is the intimate interaction between the camera and person within fixed surroundings. The individual gazing off into space seems to Invite the viewer to identify the human form as video still life, then changing the gaze to the camera confronts the person watching the video thus changing the relationship from viewer to being viewed. I watched these video’s all the way through the first time I saw them and found my self entranced but then oddly uncomfortable at the same time.

  3. The color work really catches my attention and has a strong emotional status. The color usage also is prime. Lime green on the red with the strong lighting is perfect for the atmosphere you were going for.

  4. i found it interesting that Lavatelli’s work is continuing the investigation of Cindy Sherman’s work except with the reversal of using video instead of photographs. I feel like Lavatelli’s videos work as photographs also, however, because of her understanding the importance of time. Changing the speed of the clips gives her the ability to frame the moment she wants the viewer to concentrate on.

  5. the still films captured my attention a lot. i liked watching for the sight shifts in motion that reassured that you were watching a video, forcing this feeling that something was going to happen.

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