The meticulously constructed work of media-based, American artist Amie Siegel is complex and deeply layered, moving between film, video, photography, performance, and installation. Drawing from a variety of sources including old films, novels, advertising, and soundtracks, Siegel uses multi-channel films, projections and digitally altered photographs to explore ideas about and around objects, figures, and documents of cultural importance, and questions their perceived value as well as the power systems that uphold them.Read More
Creating what she calls 'cine-constellations', or 'accumulative montages', Siegel's films are typically slow-moving, dramatic, ethereal, and have an uncanniness to them—effects that she creates in the editing process. In Berlin Remake (2005), a 14-minute, two-channel installation, Siegel plays a compilation of original East German State Film Studio movies alongside her own replicated version shot in the present day, but importantly with all actors left out of the frame, resulting in a dramatic tension between past and present, original and duplicate.
This battle for authorship and for authority is a recurring theme in Siegel's work. She explores it between doctor and patient in Empathy (2013), a 92-minute film inspired by the furniture layout of a psychoanalyst's office and in which screen tests of actresses auditioning are interwoven with a voice-over actress in psychoanalysis. She explores it again between director and performer in the multi-channel video installation, The Noon Complex (2016), in which a digitally altered version of Jean-Luc Godard's film Le Mépris (Contempt) (1963)—with all traces of Bridgette Bardot removed from it—plays next to a film featuring a performer acting out the same movements of the absent actress. Two soundtrack variations accompany the two videos—one French, one Italian—creating a dichotomy of melancholic drama and comical burlesque.
Siegel again scrutinises possible power structures and power struggles in her film Black Moon Mirror Mall (2010)—one of the multiple parts of the installation Black Moon (2010)—this time between interviewer and interviewee. Featuring two television sets facing each other, Black Moon Mirror Mall consists of a clip of Louie Malle giving an interview in French to a male interviewer about his surrealist film Black Moon (1975) on one screen, while Siegel re-enacts the interview on the other, mirroring Malle's speech in English, to a female interviewer, thus transposing the subjects' genders.
That a work takes on elements from the system it is reacting to is vital for Siegel, as stated in her UCLA Department of Art lecture in November 2016, and is seen at play in Provenance (2013), a 40-minute film that traces the origins and history of ownership of furniture Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier designed in the 1950s for the planned city of Chandigarh, India. The film follows the chairs and desks from their present-day homes back to the auction houses they were sold in, through to their restoration and shipping, to their original locations in India. In 2013, the film was sold in one of the same auction houses that featured in the film, ensuring the work literally acts as provenance—a declaration of an object's cultural value.
Born in Chicago in 1974, Amie Siegel lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, in New York in 1996, and with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999, and has since exhibited widely.
Recent solo exhibitions include Winter, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2017); Interiors, Frye Museum, Seattle (2017); Strata, South London Gallery (2017); Double Negative, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2016); Imitation of Life, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2016); Ricochet, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart (2016); Provenance, MAK Museum für Angewante Kunst, Vienna (2015); Provenance, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2014); and Berlin Remake, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge (2007).
Siegel has been a fellow of The Smithsonian Institution (2017) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2007), and has been the recipient of the ICA Boston's Foster Prize (2010) and Creative Capital's Visual Art Award (2015). Her films have screened at the Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and New York Film Festivals.
Genista Jurgens | Ocula | 2019