Through the Looking Glass: Videos by Cecelia Condit

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | February 12, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009, 6pm | Cecelia Condit in person!

Cecelia Condit, Annie Lloyd (2008). Image courtesy of the artist.
Cecelia Condit, Annie Lloyd (2008). Image courtesy of the artist.

Since the early 1980s, Cecelia Condit has garnered acclaim for her sweetly gruesome stories of menaced and menacing women. Cultural critic Laura Kipnis calls Condit, “the most serious practitioner of the grotesque in video art” and media scholar Patricia Mellencamp hails her videos as “feminist fairy tales.” Condit sets Brothers Grimm-like parables in the suburban landscape of the American Midwest, mixing black humor, lush photography, and eerily sing-song soundtracks to unearth the dark fantasies lurking there. She writes, “my work centers around the theme of how bizarre events disrupt mundane lives. By contrasting the commonplace with the macabre, humor with the absurd, I address a reality that is both surprisingly believable yet strange enough to belong only to the realm of fiction.” Co-presented by the Video Data Bank.  1983-2008, DVCAM video, USA, ca 70 min.


Possibly in Michigan

Cecelia Condit, 1983, DVCAM video, 12 min

Possibly in Michigan is an operatic fairy tale of cannibalism, desire and dread in Middle America, a densely collaged narrative in which Beauty meets the Beast in the surreal landscape of shopping-mall suburbia.

Not a Jealous Bone

Cecelia Condit, music by Stephen Vogel, 1987, DVCAM video, 11 min.

Invoking a biblical story of life coming from dry bones, Condit constructs an experimental narrative about an older woman’s confrontation with her own mortality after the death of her mother. The bone represents the promise of youth and hope-a promise jealously coveted by the young, but needed more by those grown old.

Oh, Rapunzel

Cecelia Condit w/Dick Blau, music by Stephen Vogel, 1996/2008, DVCAM video, 24 min.

In Oh, Rapunzel, when Rapunzel flees the tower, Condit’s mother leaves her home for an independent living facility and a freedom that she has never known.

Annie Lloyd

Cecelia Condit, 2008, DVCAM video,  19 min.

Annie Lloyd is an unflinching valentine to Condit’s mother in the last years of her life and an intimate portrayal of the creativity and wisdom of old age.


Cecelia Condit studied sculpture at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA; received a B.F.A. in sculpture at the Philadelphia College of Art, and an M.F.A. in photography from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. She has received numerous awards for her work including fellowships from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, the American Film Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mary L. Nohl Fund. Her videos have been widely shown internationally at institutions and festivals including the Biennale de Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; and the Milwaukee Art Museum, WI. She is currently Professor of Film and Video and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Condit’s exhibition at CUE Art Foundation marks her first solo show in New York.


Cecelia Condit at the CUE Art Foundation


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    Conversations at the Edge is a weekly series of screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists.


    CATE is organized by SAIC's Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation in collaboration with the Gene Siskel Film Center and SAIC's Video Data Bank, Conversations at the Edge is a dynamic weekly series of screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists.


    Programs take place Thursdays at 6pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State / Chicago, IL / 312.846.2600), unless otherwise noted.