Shana Moulton’s The Castle of Secrets

Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam

October 21, 2010

Shana Moulton
The Castle of Secrets

23 October – 20 November 2010

Saturday 23 October, 17:00 – 19:00

Bloemstraat 140
1016 lj Amsterdam
(+31) 20 423 30 46
mail [​at​]
Tuesday to Saturday, 13:00 – 18:00

Cynthia wanders aimlessly around her house, tries out health-giving creams and the latest household gadgets, reads self-help books and performs a gliding dance through her natural surroundings as if her life depended on it. The hypochondriac housewife Cynthia is the protagonist and alter ego of Shana Moulton (born in the USA, 1976) in the artist’s ongoing series of performances and videos entitled Whispering Pines.

Cynthia seeks self-fulfilment, happiness and reflection by trying out endless self-help books and New Age rituals. In each video she again goes in search of solutions, combining her everyday concerns with a surrealistic aestheticism. In Whispering Pines 11, Cynthia suffers a crisis with her health, and rummaging through her medicine chest stumbles on a secret message that will lead her to a cosmic healer. The colourful and graphic setting in Moulton’s video resembles a mysterious psychological space, which has a hypnotic effect partly thanks to its hymnic music. The narrative it evokes borders on absurdism when the separate—often household—objects are deployed in a ritualistic way. Full of New Age mantras, Cynthia strives once more to achieve her goal: unity of mind, body and spirit.

With Whispering Pines Moulton both creates a new world and criticises the existing world—that is, the central importance of the quest for self and its development, which is totally commercialised through the marketing of diverse lifestyles. Although Cynthia believes in the unity of the universe, she lives in a social vacuum. Her world is inward-looking. Even so, the viewer is involved in the work by the sculptural setting in which the videos are presented. For a brief moment we can be part of her quest, in which reality and her specific fantasy world end up, after all, almost converging.

During the opening at 7pm, Shana Moulton will do a special performance.

Shana Moulton (born in 1976 in Oakhurst , California) studied at the University of California, Berkeley and attended the MFA program at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Moulton has also studied at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Exhibitions of her work include: Loop ’05 Video Festival, Barcelona; Rencontres internationales Paris/Berlin, Paris; Dark Light Festival, Dublin; Impakt Festival, Utrecht; Internationale Kurzfilmtage, Oberhausen; European Media Arts Festival, Osnabruck; Fondazione Mudima, Milan; Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam; New Media Festival, Seoul; Version Festival, Chicago; Portland Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Portland; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Electronic Arts Intermix, New York; Canada Gallery, New York; and Bellwether, New York.