The Burns Monument / Regent Road / 21 – 24 June 2012
A new film installation by David Austen for the Edinburgh International Film Festival
The Gorgon’s Dream
A peep into darkness. Medusa awakes from her slumber.
Ingleby Gallery and EIFF present a new silent black and white film by artist David Austen set in the magical interior of The Burns Monument, one of Edinburgh’s architectural gems.
Working across media with painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and film, Austen weaves his ideas into distinct fragmented poetic narratives, delighting in the tragic-comic potential of human existence and the oddness of ordinary life. Having a long standing interest in the theatrical, in the past five years Austen has increasingly turned to the medium of film to create worlds where his imagery can manifest in a moving time and space. Frequently referencing early cinema and methods, Austen’s films create dark bittersweet landscapes, often inhabited by strange lovelorn characters.
The Gorgon’s Dream is Austen’s haunting interpretation of a small bronze sculpture in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Made in the 16th century by Benuvenuto Cellini, the sculpture depicts the head of Medusa held tightly in a fist, a model for ‘Perseus and the Medusa’ in Florence. At once violent and seemingly gentle, the sculpture struck Austen as disconcertingly similar to a photograph by Lee Miller; the back of the head of a coifed woman, her own hand grasping her hair.
As a contemporary piece of film referencing classical myth, The Gorgon’s Dream found it’s natural home for the EIFF in one of Edinburgh’s historic monuments. Built in 1831 to house a statue of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, the Burn’s Monument is based on the Choragic Monument, built to commemorate dramatic performances in ancient Athens. Overlooking Edinburgh’s Old Town and Arthur’s Seat, this dramatic location is the ideal setting to experience this fragment of myth and to discover a time and space where tender darkness reigns.