Please note that the Vancouver Art Gallery has reopened to the public with new guidelines, visit here to learn more.
NEXT Matilda Aslizadeh: Moly and Kassandra is a video installation produced by the Vancouver-based artist Matilda Aslizadeh in 2018. This will be its first presentation in Western Canada. The work features three sculptural components that evoke film flats of a mountain landscape that are positioned in a darkened room. A video image is projected onto each flat, so the viewer encounters three simultaneous operatic performances by a solitary female figure who stands in the midst of three different open-pit mines. The scale of each figure has been manipulated so that the relationship between figure and landscape evokes a performer in an ancient amphitheatre. The costumes worn by the performers reference the haute couture fashion of 1979, a year marked by the shift from Keynesian to neoliberal economic policies in Western democracies. The compositions of the ostensibly lyrical songs performed by the singers are actually based on economic charts that trace the value and levels of production of molybdenum, an element used to strengthen steel alloys deployed in the weapons industry, among other fields. As Aslizadeh notes, “The charts track statistical information from 1912 to the present; therefore the figure who sings from the vantage point of 1979 is both a historian and a prophet—akin to Cassandra from classical Greek mythology whose predictions were cursed to inspire only disbelief.” The video installation will be accompanied by three inkjet prints that layer figure, landscape, and the charts on which the compositions of the songs are based.
Moly and Kassandra brings together three thematic concerns that have been central to Aslizadeh’s practice: the relationship between material and immaterial manifestations of the economy, the role of women as allegorical figures who exceed the metaphoric, and the possibility of agency in forms of knowledge or sensation that lie beyond common experience.