02 May 2019
Join us at the IMA for a site-specific iteration of Justene Williams’s recreation of seminal Russian Futurist ‘anti-opera’, Victory over the Sun.
Transforming the IMA into an immersive baroque-grunge stage, Williams will present live performances in the gallery amidst video of her opera’s original staging at the 20th Biennale of Sydney in 2016, edited in her signature psychedelic style, with a soundtrack by the Sydney Chamber Opera.
Williams’s reimagining of Victory over the Sun recasts the opera with diverse bodies and reinterprets the volumetric costume designs originally sketched by Kazimir Malevich. Victory over the Sun, which premiered in St Petersburg in 1913, depicts a revolutionary overthrow of the sun, with characters capturing the star and trapping it in a black box, in order to reimagine civilisation. The opera, written in Zaum, an anti-language created by the Russian Futurists, is a non-linear exploration of a restructured world.
Performances will begin at 6.30pm and re-set at 7.30pm.
Williams has been making and exhibiting work since the 1990s; an energetic amalgamation of video, photography, sculpture and performance. In the spirit of Dada and the radicalism of the 20th century avantgarde, Williams utilises collage and the absurd to splice ostensibly disparate contexts, forging new trans-historical and cross-cultural hyperrealities that aim to bridge the threshold between the corporeal and spiritual. Incorporating a range of found and recycled materials, Williams creates elaborate costumes and environments in which she executes delirious actions that invoke the spirits of past art movements conflated with cryptic allusions to more personal narratives. The documentation of these shamanistic performances—in which figure and ground become one—are then further collaged in post-production and screened within complex installations; high-energy environments that the audience experiences as an immersive cacophony of performance, sculpture, video and sound. Williams often collaborates with performers in her adaptations of historical and mythological narratives.