Heidi

Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley
1992, 62:40 min, color, sound

Writes McCarthy: "A collaborative work based on Joanna Spyri's novel, Heidi.. The entire work consisted of a fabricated set, a group of partial and full life-size rubber figures, two large backdrop paintings, and a video tape shot entirely on the set. The set was installed at the center of the gallery (Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna). The set consisted of a chalet at one end, and at the other end the facade of the American bar in Vienna and a bedroom. The set itself maintains its presence as a sculpture... The figures, props and other items used in the production of the tape, in conjunction with the set, are to be seen as a whole and as works of art, rather than an accumulation of leftovers. We were interested in imitating film and television production, and exaggerating the fractured process of film.

The intention was to create convoluted associations between Heidi, the purity myth in America and Europe and the media view of family life, horror movies and ornamentation — the grandfather, Heidi and Peter, a rural family. Grandfather is abusive and senile. Peter is retarded. Heidi is Madonna and the sick girl is a vision. In films, in particularly horror films, it is often necessary to have sculptural stand-ins for actors. Depending on their function, these doubles may be parts of complete replicas, smaller or larger than the actor. In the case of cell or computer animation, the image may not exist three-dimensionally at all. They are all simply tools in the production of an illusion and are not to be seen outside of the film context. In Heidi, we toyed with this illusionary nature by treating the doubles and stand-ins as obvious sculpture and more in the manner of a puppet show than a traditional film."

Writes Kelley: "In late 1992 at the Krinzinger Galerie in Vienna, a show of Los Angeles based artists was held entitled LAX. Paul McCarthy and I were among the roster of artists invited to participate in this exhibition. We did a collaborative work based on Joanna Spyri's novel, Heidi. Our work consisted of a set, a group of partial and full life-size rubber figures and a video tape shot entirely on the set. We were interested in addressing the fractured nature of filmic language, the fact that films are experienced as a seamless whole. In the tape, we foregrounded this fracture in our treatment of the actor. In films, horror films particularly, it is often necessary to have sculptural stand-ins for actors. Depending on their function, these doubles may be parts of, complete replicas of, smaller or larger than, the actor, or, in the case of cell or computer animation, may not exist three-dimensionally at all. They are all simply tools in the production of an illusion, and are not meant to be seen outside of the film context. In Heidi we toyed with this illusionary nature by treating the doubles and stand-ins for the actors as obvious sculpture, more in the manner of a puppet show than traditional film."

Camera: Peter Kasperak. Producers: Peter Kasperak, Vienna and Ursula Krinzinger. Sound: Ferdinand Cibulka. Editor: Clemens Böhn. Featuring: Tim Martin.