“Remontez le temps. Il faut que ce qui a été ne soit plus.” These are the words that emanate from the hand of a veiled figure trudging endlessly through the snow. This phrase is lifted directly from Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus. Persephone leads us through a bleak winter landscape into miniature theatrical production where prisoners of war form a kick line, the queen of the underworld lip syncs to Bessie Smith’s Wasted Life Blues and Cocteau’s proverbial poet takes on a burlesque form in a sacrificial feather dance.
We presented this installation as part Crack The Sky, the 2007 Biennale de Montréal exhibition. Subsequently the Festival TransAmériques invited us to remount this work at the Monument-National in 2009. The video documentation posted below offers a walk through of the work as it was originally presented, along with a view to the video projection that is the core component of the installation. Persephone is part of a body of work that also includes the performance, Phobophilia and the cabaret work, Pas peur.
“Aaron Pollard and Stephen Lawson’s work manages to fold the aspirations of the show into Montreal’s own ethos. Moving beyond cross-dressing and gender-bending, the duo collapses linguistic distinctions, bridges the divide between stage, gallery and street, and operates as actor, director, and audience to produce an incessant relocation of boundaries. Why bother cracking the sky when your horizon is, by definition, borderless?”
—Sylvie Fortin, ART PAPERS