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Photo by Cécile B. Evans, A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle, 2019 (still). Courtesy of the artist.

Cécile B. Evans

A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle

October 21, 2021 - January 5, 2022
Location

On the High Line at 14th Street | Daily at dusk

Cécile B. Evans (b. 1983, Cleveland, Ohio) lives and works in London, England. Evans examines the value and applications of emotion in contemporary society. Through entrancing large-scale video installations, Evans teases apart our affective connections to human and not-quite-human actors, such as digitally animated characters, puppets, artificial intelligences, and even inanimate objects. Evans mobilizes cutting-edge technologies including robotics and digital animation to expose and challenge our ever-changing relationships to machines and the cognitive and emotional capacity of humans, our augmentations, and our proxies.

A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle (2019, 8 min, 50 sec.) is the first chapter in an evolving adaptation of the industrial-era ballet. In Evans’ staging, the tragic, romantic ballet morphs into an ecofeminist thriller staged in a forest commune in the near future. In the original ballet, Giselle dies from heartache following the revelation of her suitor Albrecht’s deception; after her death, she saves herself from becoming a Wili—a trapped spirit of a wronged maiden—by in turn saving Albrecht from his own death by exhaustion at the hand of the other spirits. In Evans’ version, Giselle’s death proposes the possibility of escape through the triumph of multiplicity over essentialism.

Evans recently participated in a residency with the National Ballet of Marseille in collaboration with the Kistefos Museum, Norway, and exhibited a new performance commission at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, both part of the ongoing adaptation of Giselle.

The production of A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle was supported by Balmain, Paris, with additional support from Forma Arts.

Production: Rachel C. Clark, Bill Bellingham
Director of Photography: Deepa Keshvala
Sound design: Joe Namy
Additional Music: Mati Gavriel
Costumes: Ella Plevin
Performances:
Giselle: Alexandrina Hemsley
Bertie (Giselle’s mother): Rebecca Root
Leonida: Lily McMenamy
Myrthe: Viktoria Modesta
Albrecht: Real time voice cloning toolkit
Villagers/Willis: Valerie Ebuwa, Becky Namgauds, Olivia Norris, Seira Winning

Artist bio

Cécile B. Evans has presented solo exhibitions at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (2020); Museo Madre, Naples, Italy (2019); Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (2018 – 2019); mumok, Vienna, Austria (2018); Kunsthalle Aarhus, Denmark (2017); Tate Liverpool, England (2016 – 2017); Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy (2016); and Serpentine Galleries, London, England (2014 – 2019). Evans’ work has been featured in group exhibitions including Liquid Life, Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker, Norway (2021); Is this tomorrow?, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England (2019); Blind Faith: Between the Visceral and the Cognitive in Contemporary Art; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2018); and Unthought Environments, Renaissance Society Chicago (2018). Evans has participated in major international exhibitions including the 7th International Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia (2020), the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial, Ekaterinburg, Russia (2017), 9th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2016), and the 20th Sydney Biennale, Australia (2016). The artist’s work is featured in public collections of institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; and FRAC Auvergne, France.


Support

Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Charina Endowment Fund, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts . Project support is provided by Charlotte Feng Ford. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson. High Line Channel is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.