Multifaceted, London-based film director and video artist Eva Lanska will unveil The Existential Choice, her choreographic new photograph and 3D video installation, at Palazzo Bragadin in Venice, Italy from April 19th to 24th on the opening of the Biennale Arte 2022. The 3D video installation will also be made available as an NFT.
In the multimedia installation, Lanska employs gesture and symbolism to explore the intense proximity between collaboration and competition. For a hypnotic minute she offers a sensitive portrayal of the tenderness and tension that can often be held woman to woman. The video is accompanied by a series of photographic stills that invite greater insight, using photography as a medium that enables the artist to explore the ideas she advocates for from new perspectives.
Lanska captures movement to convey symbolic meaning. By dramatizing the relationship between two ballerinas, she highlights the socio-ethical sacrifices that dancers continually face. As the epitome of femininity, the ballerinas represent womankind more broadly, with the video acting as a parable for the pressures on women to betray one another in their rise to the top.
“The betrayal one makes for your career will live in the heart forever,” says Lanska. Here Lanska emphasizes one particular aspect of society that she finds problematic and offers a critical insight into the way many culturally long-standing customs actually run contrary to core humanitarian values.
The video’s top note is one of serenity, with strains of wistful melancholy simmering underneath. Lanska cinematically captures the dancing duo’s arms and hands close-up in synchronic motion, delivering moments of near-abstraction that serve as meditative perspective on the dynamism of coexistence. One dancer is pierced in the chest by the other with a metaphorically loaded whip. The viewer doesn’t experience this as climactic however, but with sanguine calm. The video signifies sisterly feeling as following their competition the dancers enter into a healing embrace, the emotions of which are magnified by Lanska’s close-ups on their faces, sharing their expressions in intimate focus for the viewer.
“Ultimately they return from a treacherous state of competitive struggle back towards a harmonious state of love and support,” she explains.
Set in a stable, the regal connotations of a horse resonate with the dancers’ refined discipline. Their well-worn satin pointe shoes grind against the stable floor to represent commitment at all costs; the years of training, the personal sacrifices. While the girl’s posture and embrace in the foreground, an elderly butler emerges as an apparition further back – like the ghost of patriarchal social structures past, being eclipsed by the multifaceted presence of the vibrant feminine rising.
Women’s rights are one of Lanska’s core concerns and she has long campaigned for a film industry in which a woman’s age, nationality or origin cease to be barriers to a career in cinema.
The musicality between gesture and dialogue is what drew Lanska to filmmaking. She trained at London Film Academy and London Institute of Photography, and draws on her experiences living in Paris, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, as well as her upbringing in Moscow. Influenced by classic Italian filmmakers such as Fellini and Antonioni, plus the expressive virtuosity of prima ballerinas she saw at the Bolshoi Theatre as a child, she works either in black and white or elegant muted colors, using stylized camerawork to refer to tradition and continuity.
Lanska’s first short, Okay, Mum, about domestic violence, won Best Picture at Los Angeles Film Festival and was selected for Short Film Corner at Cannes 2017. Centering around the complex issues facing women internationally, her work finds different ways of intertwining this core priority with related themes such as interfaith marriage (short film Little French Fish, 2020) and transcending stereotypes (documentary The Abraham Accords Change History: Women in the Middle East, 2021). Forbes interviewed her as “one to watch” in 2020 and she’s received awards or nominations from over thirty film festivals. Her upcoming feature film I Am Not an Actress, based on the life of Brigitte Bardot, is signed with NoW Films.
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“The Existential Choice’ A 3D Video Installation By Eva Lanska To Have World Premiere In Venice During Biennale Arte 2022