AboutShaky Legs, recent work by Paulette Phillips, brings together two installations that deal with modernist architecture, Eileen Gray's E.1027 and Vladimir Tatlin's tower.
AS COULD BE is a three dimensional animation with sound commissioned for Nuit Blanche by the City of Toronto and Scotia Bank. The animation is based on the architectural model designed by the Russian constructivist artist Vladimir Tatlin. In 1919 Tatlin proposed to build The Monument to the Third International. Although it was never built it continues to represent a utopian symbol of technology working in harmony with the force of labour. The sound composition, a collaboration between Paulette Phillips and Isabelle Noel, is an anthem-like song produced from interviews with contemporary workers who speak about what work means today.
The notion of âliving' space is the starting point for Phillips' sculpture and video explorations of the site E.1027, a modernist villa built by Eileen Gray between 1927 and 1929. Gray, the renowned Irish born furniture and carpet designer based in Paris from 1912 until her death in 1976, built two modernist villas between 1929 and 1934. On Phillips' visits to E.1027, between 2003 and 2006, an aura of tragedy enveloped E.1027 and it was evident to her that the house was a haunted and abused site. The house, at that time a ruin, stood as a witness and victim of extreme emotion, a quality absent in modernist discourse.
In the video Shell, the camera searches for evidence related to the haunted affect of the ruined villa. In The Rubber House, a wobbly model of E.1027 is cast in pliable silicone; and a series of ink jet prints, titled Knock Knock, uses collage to enfold the facets of the complex narrative evolving from Maison en bord de mer.
Paulette Phillips was born in Canada and during her career has established an international reputation for her tense, humorous and uncanny explorations of the phenomena of conflicting energies. She works in film and sculpture with an interest in the contradictions that play out in our construction of stability. Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Tatton Park Biennial, Berlin Film Festival's Expanded Forum, The Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, The Power Plant in Toronto and Heidelburger Kunstverein. She is currently showing at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and will be part of the group exhibition Parallel Histories at the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal. Phillips teaches at The Ontario College of Art and Design.