Cecelia Condit

Most of the video works by Cecelia Condit explore the dark side of female subjectivity. She interrogates and reflects on the tensions, fears, and forms of aggression between men, men and women, women and society, and human beings and animals.
With a unique ability to mix humor with fear, the extravagant, the macabre, and sometimes even with horror, Condit elaborates short stories, almost modern fairy tales, in order to reveal obscure and repressed fantasies that seem to play a profound role in traditional American culture. Her particular narrative forms, which have been termed “feminist fairy tales,” reinterpret and rewrite the traditions and myths of female representations, unveiling the implications tied to hidden forms of sexuality and violence.
Condit has developed a fascinating, dream-like oeuvre in which the ordinary is transformed into the unexpected, and the familiar into the fantastic. This is made possible by attentive and refined video elaboration, films in Super 8, found footage, original music and oftentimes dialogues that are sung, and a series of references to popular and classical literary archetypes, from fairy tales to gothic literature. [F.B.]

List of works

Beneath the Skin, 1981
video, color, sound, 12 min. 05 sec.
Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo
Through the story of a girl who discovers that her boyfriend killed his former girlfriend and hid the mummified body near their bedroom, Condit elaborates a narration that is somewhere between a dream and a hallucination. A sense of humor and the macabre, together with a plot in which it is difficult to distinguish between reality and dreams, characterizes this story that goes beneath the skin, investigating the veiled and repressed areas in the relationships between men and women.

Possibly in Michigan, 1983
video, color, sound, 11 min. 40 sec.
Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo
Set in a typical American suburb, this video narrates the story of two women who decide to take revenge on their persecutor whose face is masked like a large ape. In turn, the victims become aggressors and the seeming familiarity of the domestic scenarios is transformed into a sort of psychosexual horror film with quasi-fantastical tones. The use of songs and a growing sense of disorientation characterize the video’s pervasive black humor.

Not a Jealous Bone, 1987
video, color, sound, 10 min. 24 sec.
Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo
An elderly, eighty-two-year-old woman searching for her mother and a charming girl struggle to possess a magic bone. The powers of this bone promise eternal life. Accompanied by music inserted sporadically, this psychological melodrama stages vanity, jealousies, fatigue, and the fear of aging in the form of a story.