Critics’ Picks

Still from The Girl Band Project: Chilimango (Paint it Black), 2001.


Maria Bustnes

Ibid Gallery | London
27 Margaret Street
March 12 - April 11

Maria Bustnes’s The Girl Band Project: Chilimango (Paint it Black), 2001, is a two-part “rockumentary” whose subject is a teenage girl band from Lund, Sweden. Projected in the main gallery space, Part 1 shows Chilimango’s slightly wooden but perfectly tuned rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.” In Part 2, the members discuss their motivations and experiences: An all-female band entering a male-dominated field, the girls are nevertheless devoid of feminist aspirations, saying that their music is about having fun (though insisting that they are a serious rock band). Playing covers of songs by predominantly male groups—their influences include Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana—the ladies choose their material according to “what feels right.” Coolly detached in demeanor and curiously lacking the characteristics one might expect from a rock band—such as signs of rebelliousness, sexual awareness, and stage presence—this is hardly Chicks on Speed. But given that the girls are all between fourteen and fifteen years old, I suppose they might be forgiven for now.