6 Dec 2018
Szuper Gallery: The Extras
Kunsthalle studio presents a video performance work The Extras (2005) by Szuper Gallery, an artists’ collective formed by Susanne Clausen and Pawlo Kerestey. The stars of the video are extras, background performers used in the crowd scenes of films and television series.
In the video, an invisible director is telling the Extras to take various positions and formations. The Extras´ reflective clothing and signs they are holding symbolise their work as a background surface, a collective mass whose only purpose is to spotlight the main events and stars. In the background of the video, a voiceover is reading the Extras’ collective feelings about absurd shooting situations.
The video embodies the ambiguous role of the Extras: they are extra but necessary; they have to be there without being present. Extras are brought to the scene in mid-story, and they do not know the storyline or understand the meaning of their own actions. In the long and often boring shooting sessions their work is mainly waiting and killing time, but that also allows them to think their own thoughts and alternative interpretations. The ambivalence is also evident in the video’s soundtrack as collective thoughts in the first person plural. Szuper Gallery’s work is characterised by this kind of vacillation between individualism and collectivism, anonymity and standing out, outsiderness and belonging. Their works contemplate intermediate spaces, being an extra and an outsider, the dynamics of groups and money and the intangibility of human existence and action.
Susanne Clausen and Pawlo Kerestey were HIAP residents in December 2005 and again in summer 2006. The exhibition has been supported by the British Council.