STANDARD (OSLO)
PRESS RELEASE

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EMILY WARDILL: "GAME KEEPERS WITHOUT GAME"
12.11.-11.12.2010 / PREVIEW: FRIDAY 12.11.2010 / 19.00-21.00

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STANDARD (OSLO) is proud to announce the opening of British artist Emily Wardill's second solo exhibition with the gallery, "Game Keepers Without Game". Taking its title from from the one video work presented the exhibition continues Wardill's research of the exaggeration and artifice of cinematic melodrama.


I like to think of my films as the walls to my house.
– Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community”, which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That's not the way the world really works anymore”, he continued. “We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
– Conversation related between Ron Suskind and Bush Aide, New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004


With Game Keepers Without Game Emily Wardill has produced a work bearing in mind the playwright Pablo Calderon La Barca’s (1600-1681) theatre play Life Is a Dream (La Vida es Suena). As Calderon's play Wardill's video work tells the story of a child who is put up for adoption (due to symptoms of psychosis) and banished from the family home at an early age. When we enter the story the girl, "Stay", is a teenager and after years apart her father is devising a plan to bring her back to the family. However, the re-introduction of Stay into the family home doesn’t really work and she ends up ruining the house itself and upsetting the family to the point where the she has to go back into care. Having been thrown out a second time – and given the illusion that the experience of being part of his family was a 'dream' – she nevertheless decides to strategize her way back into the house.

The film is a continuation of themes running through Wardill's recent works, particularly the recently completed Sea Oak (2008), The Diamond (Descartes Daughter) (2008) and Sick Serena […] (2007). It addresses the use of melodrama as a tool of communication and structuring device that ‘frames’ ideas and the use of material as sign. This interest in the melodrama stems from research that Wardill was conducting whilst making and preparing for Sick Serena […]. She was led from the use of allegory within British stained glass to the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder – both from the use of light (which in the latter's later film works was stylistically equivalent to stained glass colouring) and the interest in the didactic storytelling. Influenced by fellow filmmaker Douglas Sirk, Fassbinder saw the traditional melodrama as a political tool – using familiar structures to introduce difficult topics to his audience.

Game Keepers Without Game take this research further to develop Wardill's own melodramatic structure within which she explores elements of contemporary British life. A number of these are conveyed through the style in which the film is shot. The script itself, which is a ‘conventional’ script – in that it has actors, scenes of introduction, action, climax and resolve – is used as a ‘cradle’ for the elements within it. Props are here described with the same precision as the actors and have equal amount of time in shot as people. Everything within the film is shot separately on a monochrome background as though it is an object laid out in a Sunday paper colour supplement or airline food. The distinction between ‘props’ in the theatrical sense, evidence in the criminal context and ‘status symbols’ as conveyors of lifestyle choice is blurred to emphasize the settling of ‘meaning’ within material.

Emily Wardill (b. 1977 in Rugby) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include The Showroom Gallery, London; Spacex, Exeter; Altman-Siegel, San Francisco; Jonathan Viner / Fortescue Avenue, London and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London. Her works have also been included in group exhibitions at Tate Britain, London; Witte de With, Rotterdam; MUMOK, Vienna; and MOCA, Miami. Wardill was earlier this autumn announced as recipient of the Jarman Award and parallel to the exhibition in the gallery will be her largest exhibition to date – "windows broken, break, broke together" – at de Appel in Amsterdam.

For further information please visit our webpage: www.standardoslo.no or contact Eivind Furnesvik at eivind@standardoslo.no or +47 917 07 429 / +47 22 60 13 10. STANDARD (OSLO) is open Tuesday-Friday: 12.00-17.00 / Saturday: 12.00-16.00. Sunday and Monday: Closed.

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