Eve Sussman

Eve Sussman: 89 Seconds at Alcázar


89 Seconds at Alcázar is a carefully constructed video that takes Diego Velázquez’s famous painting Las Meninas (1656) as a point of departure, treating it as the seminal cinéma-vérité film still.

“My work originates from fascination with simple gestures and casual expressions, which I observe, capture, and stage in videos, films, installations, and photographs...89 Seconds at Alcázar is a carefully constructed video that takes Diego Velázquez’s famous painting Las Meninas (1656) as a point of departure, treating it as the seminal cinéma-vérité film still. The piece ultimately looks baroque, but was inspired by the opposite – an interest in the everyday. Restaging the situation leading up to the moment depicted in the painting, 89 Seconds presents an imagined unfolding of minute movements that could have framed the scene. By linking the singular scene of the painting with a continuity of events, I attempted to script and choreograph body language, instead of simply observing it in everyday life.”
 
Eve Sussman’s 12-minute video takes on Las Meninas, a painting that is extremely modern for its time, not to mention puzzling. Arthur C. Danto, the noted philosopher and art historian, has said he is not sure that any of Velázquez' puzzles “are meant to be solved so much as merely felt.” Sussman imagines the activities of the royal household and works through this complexity, while at the same time capturing the tension and atmosphere of the eternal moment that would be fixed forever in the painting. The results are uncanny and ravishing.

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