Critics’ Picks

View of “Emily Wardill,” 2014.


Emily Wardill

La Loge
Kluisstraat - Rue de l’Ermitage 86
April 18 - June 28

Like many of Emily Wardill’s works, which frequently stem from live performance, the installation of the film When You Fall into a Trance, 2014, directly implicates the viewer: Two black modern couches face a screen, which is mounted into the gallery’s 1930s-style stage, flanked by lowly lit light fixtures. Trance was partly filmed in the exhibition space, which was built as a Masonic temple in 1934 by the modernist architects Fernand Bodson and Louis Van Hooveld, and one recognizes their own surroundings within the film, heightening the sense of uncanny atmosphere.

The film’s plot concerns a nexus of relationships surrounding a neuroscientist named Dominique. Narrated by a robotic male voice that shares Dominique’s perspective in the third person, three relationships are intertwined: one with her patient, Simon, whose loss of proprioception (the perception of the relative relationship of body parts and the effort required to move them) is only overcome through the sight of his own body; another involving her new boyfriend Hugo, whose deceptions become difficult to chart, and finally with her daughter Tony, a silent synchronized swimmer, long shots of whom in an icy pool form a constant thread, spliced in between scenes.

Because the film was scripted through a collaborative process, the sense of improvisation compounds the interpersonal distress and confusion underlying most scenes. While communication seems impossible, considering the warring forms of cognitive dissonance involved, in one episode Dominique and Simon ultimately connect through song, when they sing the Motown classic “Please Don't Hurt Me” in unison. Appropriate to the temple it is housed in, Trance depicts an assemblage of individuals amidst conscious and unconscious ritual.