From climate change to technology, the multi-media artist explores our most pressing anxieties with a new exhibition.
The ecological crisis, patriarchal pressures, anxieties about the all-consuming nature technology: there’s a lot of issues to think about in today’s landscape. Fortunately, a new exhibition from Californian multi-media artist Shana Moulton perfectly articulates all of these worries and more.
Through Moulton’s alter-ego, Cynthia, she presents an exhibition at London’s Zabludowicz Collection which explores themes such as feminist spirituality, the wellness industry and alternative models of living, all whilst merging video, installations, art and performance in a candy-coloured, neon world. Her first institutional solo show in the UK, Moulton presents work commissioned by the Zabludowicz Collection alongside her own projects from the past 17 years.
Collectively titled Whispering Pines – the name of her parent’s senior citizen mobile-home park near California’s Yosemite National Park, which she grew up on – Moulton’s exhibition sees Cynthia struggle with hypochondria and agoraphobia, among other things. In her 60s-kitsch-style home, video installations feature the character confronting her insecurities and the relationship between spirituality and modern-day consumerism.
Another video work sits in the Collection’s Main Hall, where a huge pink tower – which Moulton, also a teacher, based on the Montessori School children’s stacking blocks – presents different ‘channels’, such as one focusing on the motif of a woman trapped in a tower, influenced by the ‘madwoman-in-the-attic’ trope. Opposite the tower stands a huge waterfall and pool installation, natch.
In the Rear Gallery, Cynthia’s anxiety about the ecological crisis come to the fore as she becomes an environmental activist, guided by Julia ‘Butterfly Hill’, a character based on the activist who spent 738 days inside a tree named Luna to protest its being removed. Lastly, the Middle Gallery is home to the brand new installation, Personal Steam Interface. As she types on a keyboard inside a ‘personal sauna tent’, Cynthia asks questions to Google such as ‘who do I look like’, ‘how old is Jennifer Lopez’ and ‘where is the love’.
“I am filled with questions. Sometimes my questions is answered. In my heart I know the answer is correct”, decides Cynthia. Voicing our collective concerns about the state of the world, Cynthia confirms that none of us really know what we’re doing, but at least we’re all in it together.
Shana Moulton’s Whispering Pines is on now until the 15th December.