Josiah McElheny and Conny Purtill
Poster for the 100th Anniversary of the Light Club of Vizcaya
Edition of 100
Silkscreen on Somerset Satin Tub Sized 410gsm paper
77.2 x 56.8 cm | 30 3/8 x 22 3/8 in.
Signed and numbered
Published by White Cube, 2017
This edition is one of a series of posters that accompany Josiah McElheny’s 2012 film ‘The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women's Picture’. The project was commissioned by Contemporary Arts Project for Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an Italian Renaissance-style villa built in 1916 in Miami as the winter residence of industrialist James Deering.
The project was inspired by McElheny’s interest in the writing of Paul Scheerbart. In his film, McElheny develops Scheerbart’s short story The Light Club of Batavia: A Ladies' Novelette (1912), a tale about a group of socialites who meet at a hotel in Batavia and become obsessed with the construction of a spa, built at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft and made entirely of Tiffany glass, so that they can ‘bathe’ in light.
McElheny substitutes Scheerbart’s main characters with figures from Vizcaya’s history, re-creating a narrative about the promise of modernity and utopia. The film collages footage of archival documents with images of Vizcaya’s grounds, interiors and architectural elements. The narrative unfolds accompanied by artist Zoe Leonard’s voice-over. The artist’s poetic ‘speculative expansion’ of Scheerbart’s original text, re-stages it in a different locale to create a story-within-a-story that playfully deals with themes of gender, sexuality, society and nature.
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