Kate Gilmore, Cake Walk, 2005
Kate Gilmore
Cake Walk

The performance videos by the New York-based artist Kate Gilmore (*1975, USA) are scenes of a perpetual fight between the artist and the problems and absurd difficulties she creates for herself. The static camera is reminiscent of early slapstick movies. In putting herself in extreme physical situations, she evokes the performance art of Marina Abramović, Vito Acconci and others, to which she adds the element of an absurd and dark sense of humour. While funny, the obsessive endeavours of the protagonist, who is usually dressed in clichéd feminine outfits, also make us squirm because they are turned into painful and grotesque symbols of the tiresome feats of everyday life in a world that is hungry for success and recognition.

Cake Walk shows the artist as she relentlessly attempts to climb a high wooden ramp leaning against a wall while wearing roller skates. The goal of her Sisyphus task is to reach a cake placed on top of the ramp. In the end, the artist’s attempts are rewarded with success.

Courtesy Kate Gilmore

Document media
Video, colour, sound, 9:47 min

Issue date
2005

Tags
consumerism, desire, exhaustion, failure, laughter/humorous

Archive Signature
GIL 1