Lives & works in Brooklyn (United States) Very active in: 2000s, Current decade
Eve Sussman was born in London, England, to American parents, in 1961. She was educated at Robert College of Istanbul, University of Canterbury and Bennington College. Besides the United States, and the Whitney Museum of American Art amongst other institutions her work has been exhibited in Turkey, Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Croatia, France, Poland, and Canada.
She is a self-described "sculptor who shoots video," Sussman's work has evolved from installations using film-like materials (mirrors/water/projections) to single and multiple channel video installations. Her ideas originate from a fascination with simple gestures and casual expressions, which she observes, captures, and stages in videos, films, installations, and photographs. In 2003, Sussman founded The Rufus Corporation with whom she works in a collaborative and often improvisational practice.
Founded in 2003 during production of 89 seconds at Alcázar, the Rufus Corporation is an
ad hoc group of artists, dancers, actors and musicians who, under the direction of Eve Sussman, create videos, photographs and live events.
89 Seconds at Alcázar is a single channel looped video inspired by Diego Velasquez' Las Meninas. Treating the scene in the painting as a film still, the Rufus Corporation invented the actions that come before and after the depicted moment as if it were a fleeting gesture that continues as part of the movement of daily life. The camera's 10 minute circumnavigation of the room has no clear beginning, middle or end and was shot as a single fluid choreography.
For The Rape of the Sabine Women, 2005, founding collaborators Eve Sussman, Nesbitt Blaisdell, Helen Pickett, Annette Previtti, Walter Sipser, Claudia de Serpa Soares, Jeff Wood, Karen Young and Sofie Zamchick traveled to Greece to begin rehearsals. The Rape of the Sabine Women is a reinterpretation of the Roman myth, updated and set in the idealistic 1960's.
It was conceived as allegory based loosely on the ancient myth that follows Romulus' founding of Rome. Re-envisioning the myth as a 1960's period piece with the Romans cast as G-men, the Sabines as butchers' daughters, and the heyday of Rome allegorically implied in an affluent international style summer house, this version is a riff on the original story of abduction and intervention, in which Romulus devises a plan to ensure the future of the empire. While the Roman myth traces the birth of a society, this telling suggests the destruction of a utopia. The intervention of the women is fraught, and the chaos that ensues transforms the designed perfection into nothingness.
Forgoing the compromise of the original, the Rufus Corporation's re-imagining pits mid-twentieth century ideals against the eternal themes of power, longing, and desire. A modern process piece created in improvisation-a product of 180 hours of video footage and 6000 photographs-the video with 7.1 sound installation features compositions by Jonathan Bepler, recorded live on site , incorporating a bouzouki ensemble, a Pergamon coughing choir, and a chorus of 800 voices.
The Rape of the Sabine Women is dense, lavish and drawn out. It is larded with art historical references, startling juxtapositions and brilliant camera work. Intricately edited, it jumps back and forth in time and alternates between color and black-and-white scenes, sharp and grainy definition, slow-motion and normal speed. Cinematic space deepens and then flattens.
The movie's heroics and pageantry are inspired by the Sabine paintings of Poussin, Rubens and David especially David's Intervention of the Sabine Women of 1799. But Sussman's Sabine Women takes a painting that looks like a film and makes a film around it.
Sussman says of her status as a video artist in comparison to a film director; "In a movie theater, people are a little more tense. Theyre really expecting to be entertained. With video art, you're not quite expecting to be entertained. And when you are entertained, you're really pleasantly surprised. Video art demands a certain kind of patience and forgiveness from the viewer. You have to allow yourself to sit for a certain amount of time. You might have to accept that you'll be bored for a while. It's rare that you get emotionally involved during a piece of video art the way you do at the movies. There's that idea that you're able to leave at any point with a piece of video art. If you go to a movie, you're almost buckled in. To walk out of a movie is a huge statement. Even if the movie sucks, you're always debating: Should I walk out? Is it rude? Is everyone going to notice? I've only done it once or twice in my life because I feel like even if it sucks, I should sit through it and I'll learn something. And I want to see who's in the credits."
For an Interview with Eve Sussman see http://www.artfacts.net/index.php/pageType/newsInfo/newsID/3481/lang/1