VICTORY OF THE RISING SUN
What appears to be an Olympics game gone awry, Olympic athletes compete in a space that does not comply with the laws of gravity, wearing outsize grotesque and geometric costumes. The film refers to the history of the 20th century, with its dictatorships, Fascist regimes, especially Nazism and Communism, as well as modern regimes that frequently pervert ideologies. References to Leni Riefenstahl’s film Olympia from the one hand and from the other «Triadic Ballet» created by Bauhaus master Oskar Schlemer - gives an interesting point of view about those who tried to express ideologies threw design and art.
Daniella Meroz’s video confronts two opposing bodily ideals as epitomized in two aestheticized spectacles staged in Germany: Oskar Schlemer’s Triadic Ballet from 1922, and Olympia, the 1938 film by Leni Riefenstahl, a documentation of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. A former actress, Riefenstahl went on to become the Third Reich’s emblematic filmmaker. In Olympia she harnessed her innovative cinematic talents toward praising the well-proportioned bodies of athletes – a “new body” in the mould of Nazi ideology; a body meant to counter an equally new – albeit grotesquely exaggerated – body that figured in the modernist art of the Bauhaus school. Schlemer’s bodies are mechanical figures, specimens adapted to a new society. Setting her video in a stadium, Meroz saddles her performers in outsized geometrical extensions that, rather impeding movement, recall Schlemer’s visual vocabulary but also the bouncy props used in reality TV. Performing synchronized drills, races or fights, performers are captured from bellow, an angle that – as with Riefenstahl – aggrandizes the body. However, Meroz allows for direct sunlight to highlight every minor imperfection, placing the scene at the threshold of success and failure, the real and ideal. worte: Sally Heftel