Elisabeth Subrin

The Fancy

Video, 36:00

The Fancy is a speculative, experimental work that explores the short life of Francesca Woodman (1958-1981), culled only from the public record of published catalogues of and about her photographs. Structural in form, the video radically reorganizes information from the catalogues in order to pose questions about biographical form, history and fantasy, female subjectivity, evidence, and issues of authorship and intellectual property.

"One of the most moving evocations of the irreplaceable quiddity of a person... Somehow Ms. Subrin confers immortality on her subject while at the same time making vivid her irrevocable absence."
—A.O.Scott, "Video Art in a World on Tape," The New York Times

"Subrin's videos are acute, highly imaginative excursions in precise yet speculative detective work. Drawn to marginal figures, she subjects them to rigorous biographical needling, devising a whole new approach to documentary in the process. In fact, the filmmaker's work to date, Swallow (95), Shulie (97), and The Fancy, are unclassifiable; you could call them formalist experiments in documentary wrappers. Through them, Subrin cunningly insists that all along the wrong people have been asking the wrong questions. Forget what you've read. This is history the way it should have been written."
—Nicole Armour, "Disappearing Acts," Film Comment

Selected Exhibitions & screenings:

Rear View Mirror, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK
The Past Recaptured, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Tivoli, NY
Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
VIPER – Int’l Festival for Film, Video & New Media, Basel, Switzerland
Transmediale, International Media Arts Festival, Berlin, Germany
The Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Viennale, Vienna, Austria
Thread Waxing Space, New York
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA