“Gabriella and Silvana Mangano create a distilled aesthetic in very private performances on video. Gesture is the defining motif in their videos, and is most often performed through the movement of their arms in space. As if drawing, these gestures are all the more present because they occur against a background of black, white and shades of grey, recalling the cinematic austerity of Antonioni and the repetitive gestures (though not the body manipulation) in the 1970s performance videos of Gina Pane, Vito Acconci and Mike Parr.
‘Absence of evidence’ shows two identical figures, divided by a wall. The sisters are presented as ‘doubles’ of one another, raising the question of whether their representation here is that of two halves of the one whole, two of the same, or, indeed, two different entities… Gradually an ungainly stream of white paper is transferred from one figure to the other. Like an umbilical cord, this gesture forms a connection between these twin sisters that is very real, but also intuited, as they are blind to each other’s movements. They mirror one another, but the threshold is effectively broken by the endless length of paper. In the dense black expanse of the video, the paper comes to create a sculptural dimension within the space – its choreography drawing a sequence of arcs and cascades.”
Victoria Lynn, ‘Double Take’, ‘Double take: Anne Landa Award for video & new media arts 2009’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 2009 p.11
In ‘Falling Possibilities’, a length of tape entwines the sister’s hands, moving in unison they trace a graceful dance of rapid gestures against the black ground of the video. The tape is exchanged in the movement from sister to sister while constantly connecting them both. At first balletic in grace and mirrored movement, it becomes a more tense exchange further into the performance. As the gestures become sharper and more pointed, the tape disintegrates until they are left with fragments and then nothing. The exchange and communication between them, the dance of connection, is broken. But then in a mirroring that echoes the mirrored movements and mirrored sisters, the video reverses and the hands again weave the tape back from disintegration into the balletic entwined original dance of gestures.
video, 4:3 ratio, colour, silent, 20:30 min
Viktoria Marinov Bequest Fund 2010
Not on display
© Gabriella & Silvana Mangano Courtesy of Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne