Ellen Cantor at the Wattis

There are only a few days left to see the Ellen Cantor show at the Wattis, curated by Jamie Stevens and Fatima Hellberg.


Jamie Stevens writes, in an introduction to the show:

A prolific artist who lived between New York and London, Cantor combined readymade materials with diaristic notes and drawings to probe her perceptions and experiences of personal desire and institutional violence.

In her drawings, paintings, collages, and videos, Cantor lifted characters and sequences from iconic films, reorienting the ideological transmissions of the source material. Fictional figures from Disney cartoons, cult horror films, New Wave cinema, and family movies provide a visual foil to Cantor’s intimate disclosures. Magnetized by the doeful naivety of characters such as Snow White and Bambi, Cantor would, in her drawings, extend their narrative horizons to include vivid sexual encounters and crisisridden relationships.

For the final eight years of her life, Cantor was working on the featurelength film Pinochet Porn. Originally a suite of drawings named Circus Lives from Hell (2005), Pinochet Porn is an episodic narrative about five children growing up under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Featuring a cast of close friends and collaborators, and shot in New York and London, Pinochet Porn stages a libidinal critique of the systematic and sadistic destruction of selfexpression and experience.

The Wattis is one of the best things about the San Francisco art scene–Anthony Huberman moved out here from P.S.1. in New York just over a year ago, and was joined by Jamie Stevens, formerly of the Serpentine Gallery in London, who are doing great work bringing artists to San Francisco who’ve yet to have big solo shows in the U.S. or West Coast. I am looking forward to the upcoming Wang Bing show as well.

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