Melanie Gilligan

Melanie Gilligan

Melanie Gilligan, announcement for the exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein 2010, Design: Manuel Raeder

Solo Exhibition in context of Die Letzten ihrer Art

„Of course you’re special, special like everyone else.“
Melanie Gilligan, Popular Unrest, 2010

Melanie Gilligan works in various media such as video, performance, text, installation and music. Her new film, Popular Unrest, is a multi-episode drama set in a future much like the present. Here, however, all exchange transactions and social interactions are overseen by a system called ‘the Spirit’. A rash of unexplained killings has broken out across the globe. They often take place in public but witnesses never see an assailant. Just as mysteriously, groups of unrelated people are suddenly coming together everywhere, amassing new members rapidly. Unaccountably, they feel a deep and persistent sense of connection to one another. With this film Gilligan is reflecting a state of the society which is rather mirroring the casual meetings within the internet and the relationships we know from television than leading back to the principles of bourgeois society.

Consequently, Popular Unrest will be published in the internet:

The film explores a world in which the self is reduced to physical biology, directly subject to the needs of capital. Hotels offer bed-warming servants with every room, people are fined for not preventing foreseeable illness, weight watching foods eat the digester from the inside and the unemployed repay their debt to society in physical energy. If on the one hand this suggests the complete domination of life by exchange value do the groupings offer a way out?

Shot in London with a cast of twelve main actors, the film’s form is partly inspired by David Cronenberg’s ‘body horror’ and American television dramas CSI, Dexter and Bones, where reality is perceived through a pornographic forensics of empirical and visceral phenomena.
The five episodes of the film will each be screened individually throughout the installation. As with Gilligan’s recent video works, the film’s episodic structure takes its cue from television and the medium’s ability to dispense its storyline in stages.

Popular Unrest is co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London, Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver and Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff. Supported by Galleria Franco Soffiantino, Turin.

Furthermore Gilligan is showing two films in the cinema which are by subject connected to the new film production. Crisis in the Credit System (2008), a four-part fictional mini drama, is about a giant merchant bank inviting its employees to a meeting to develop strategies to get out of the financial crisis. The single screen film Self-capital (2009) shows capitalism as a person undergoing a therapy.

Melanie Gilligan was born in Toronto in 1979. She currently lives and works in London and New York. Gilligan completed a BA (Hons) Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2002 and was a Fellow with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Programme in 2004-5. Recent exhibitions include: Chisenhale Gallery London (2010), Transmission Gallery Glasgow (2008) as part of the Glasgow International Festival and Franco Soffiantino Gallery, Turin (2009). In October 2009 Gilligan was the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists.