salto mortale

anabela zigova

13 Dec 2013 - 14 Jan 2014

Anabela Zigova (1974), artist and film-maker, based in New York and Bratislava creates films where the reality crosses over to the area of the uncanny. Zigova subtly hints at certain precise mental spaces - images, emotions, and memories - that exist, or are suggested by, our emotional experience. The point of departure may be her everyday life used as a construction site, where she combines elements of choreography, video art, sculpture and creates a film language that is mixed at its source. It is cross-bred, connected to real life and thus problematic to read in one particular sense. Anabela Zigova's film production involves personal risks and investments that often compel author and viewer to question their identity as the process unfolds. Zigova's less caught up with questioning the filmic material itself, so much as with taking subtle measurements as to how making cinema imposes limitations on the act of creation. Such experiments, which deliberately impose difficulty on the artwork, are equally a form of rigorous test. What emerges as a result is not merely the film itself, but an opening up to the experience of transformation that occurs within that process of creation, unpredictable new forms of experience and insight, yielding momentary shifts in identity, points of view, uncertainty and surprise. Anabela Zigova's work often challenges everyday perceptions of the world based on the production and consumption of various products or informations, by exposing via various acts of usage or behavior their latent obscenity. In this way she subtly, expresses distrust of putatively functional societies and rules, which implicitly presume that their end products are worth the investments made, with no hidden costs. Currently, she is working on a new feature length documentary film, which deals with the secret police in former Czechoslovakia. She positions her private identity at the heart of her discourse as she investigates a hidden, secret and buried past. It begins with a fragment: a document that suggests a deeply hidden part of the identity of her late father, whose psychiatric work was part of the communist surveillance state. It remains unclear to what extent he was implicated as a surveillance agent, as his agent’s file was completely shredded in 1989. As Zigova digs deeper, via remarkably complex historical research, juxtaposed by personal notes, subjective observations and moving interviews, she is finally able to uncover the fundamental trauma. A trauma that goes far beyond the individuality of the artist to implicate an entire society. In this way Salto Mortale exhumes and reconstructs a profound swath of painful history buried by silence, denial and lies. Thus, Salto Mortale is perhaps best seen as both the title of the piece, as well as a leap or a contortion the author must perform to recover repressed memories of her own, as well as the memories of an entire society.