gilmore - with open arms

Kate Gilmore: "With Open Arms" (2005). image copyright Kate Gilmore

Kate Gilmore (USA *1975)

The performance videos by the New York-based artist Kate Gilmore 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, dark sense of humor. While funny, the obsessive endeavors of the protagonist, who is usually styled in clichéd feminine outfits, also make us squirm because they become painful and grotesque symbols of the tiresome feats of everyday life in a world hungry for success and recognition.

"With Open Arms" shows a character that is flashing a beaming smile at the camera while spreading her arms wide open. This gesture implies the finality of a performance and the intense desire for applause, praise, love, and affirmation. Instead, the character is met with the opposite of what she imagined. The invisible audience begins to hurl tomatoes at her until her dress has been ruined, her face and body are covered with tomato pulp. But she still tries to remain calm and continues to smile towards the camera as if to say, "Do you love me now? Now? Now?"

In "Star Bright, Star Might", a woman forces her made-up face through a star-shaped hole in a wood panel. The points break as her forehead pushes through, her face becoming a rosette framed by the red-painted wood.


In the Exhibition:

"Cake Walk", 2004, Video, Loop.

In the Video Archive:

"With Open Arms", 2005, 5:29min.
"Star Bright, Star Might", 2005, 5:29min.


Kate Gilmore Website
Smith Stewart Gallery