Amie Siegel directs films which are designed to be shown in galleries and make full use of the fact that the visitor can move from room to room. The show begins with a series of gouaches highlighting fragments of text in the manner of Tom Phillips’s Humuments. They are taken from a translation of a novel by Alberto Moravia which Jean-Luc Godard used as the basis for his film Contempt in 1963.
The theme of Genealogies is woman as object of desire, in this case Brigitte Bardot. The references come thick and fast but it as if they have been blown in like leaves, lightly, and left to swirl around in your mind. They include Pink Floyd setting up on a beach near Pompei, a model of Pompei and, most importantly, the Casa Malaparte, that extraordinary thirties building with its vertiginous flight of steps extending high above the sea on the wild side of Capri.
Casa Malaparte and Brigitte Bardot are central again in the multi-channel video installation High Noon in the next room. High noon is the time of day when shadows disappear and the human soul is said to be most vulnerable. Bardot herself has gone, seemingly vaporised in the blinding sun. We only hear her voice, while her surrogate appears on an adjacent screen.
As I hope the above at least infers, Seigel’s work is dense and complex. I found it totally absorbing and I think that both the images and the ideas will stick in my mind for some time to come.
Amie Siegel ‘Backstory’ is at Thomas Dane Gallery, 11 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BN until 16 February.