london

Marianna Simnett, Worst Gift, 2017, LEDs, liquid, medical syringes, vials, video (color, sound, 18 minutes). Installation view. Photo: Jonathan Bassett.

Marianna Simnett

Matt's Gallery

Marianna Simnett, Worst Gift, 2017, LEDs, liquid, medical syringes, vials, video (color, sound, 18 minutes). Installation view. Photo: Jonathan Bassett.

Marianna Simnett’s film installation Worst Gift, 2017, is a Wizard of Oz for the Botox age. Simnett worked with physician and singer Declan Costello to tell the story of a voice surgeon who injects prepubescent boys with a substance to lower their voices, creating a surreal fairy-tale musical that is part hallucinatory daydream, part nightmare. Shot in a field, a Botox factory, and an operating theater, the film stars the artist herself as a Dorothyesque character—wearing a girly white dress and turquoise sparkling slippers—who is on a journey to be transformed via the same substance.

The film begins with Costello—his face augmented with bulbous sores—singing an introduction and filling a syringe. Boys sit on chairs in a hallway wearing dirtied hospital gowns, their faces greasy with sweat. “Sometimes they sound mad. And very often it takes years seeing

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