Artist of the Day: Javier Téllez
The Venezuelian artist Javier Téllez (*1969) worked in his 30-minute video Oedipus Marshal, which has been produced in 2006 in a ghost town in Colorado, with patients of a psychiatric hospital. Téllez situates the story of the classic theater play Oedipus Rex by Sophokles in a society, which was as archaic as the society of the ancient Thebes. He uses costumes from western movies and he changes King Laios and King Oedipus into the former and the new marshal of the western town Thebes.
It should be stressed that not only the patients perform the play but that the hero of the play is becoming more or less insane when he blinds himself. The actors wear masks (which in this case come from Japan). They recite their texts without pronouncing them very well and they move a little clumsy, as if they were performing on a stage and not in the spectacular landscape of Colorado.
In addition to that, Téllez worked on the dialogues to fit them into the well-known patterns of western movies. E.g., Oedipus answers to the sphinx' question who he is: "I am just a head under a hat"; and he himself asks Jokaste, "if there is a name to put to this face", as if he was a Cowboy who arrived in Thebes after a long horse-ride across the planes. Téllez accompanies the tragedy with a film score and sounds that transgress the boundaries of the scores of the classical western movie and what one could take for ancient Greek music.
'Oedipus Marshal', 2006
Single channel projection, HDTV
Installation view and stills
.#javiertéllez #philippvonrosen #contemporary #contemporaryart #contemporaryartist #video #videoart #digital #modern #modernart #modernartist #artist #art #film #filmmaking