new-york

Sue de Beer

Marianne Boesky Gallery

Sue de Beer’s latest video, The Quickening, 2006, is a morality tale without a moral, a murder mystery with no solution. It’s set in Puritan New England—though de Beer seems unconcerned with creating the realist mise-en-scène of the conventional period piece. The movie puts incongruity to use as a narrative strategy: When John Denver launches into the second stanza of “The Eagle and the Hawk” following the unceremonious hanging of one of the characters, the music is jarring, but the effect is oddly felicitous.

The story of The Quickening is fairly simple, beginning and ending with the unexplained murder of the two female leads (both of whom are chased, stabbed, then hung by an unidentified creature). These events are themselves bookended by excerpts, narrated by the male character (Travis Jeppesen), from Joris Karl Huysmans’s 1903 preface to his 1884 novel À Rebours (Against Nature). In

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