Forever
Julika Rudelius, 2006

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A number of well-dressed American women, lounging by the swimming pool in a deck chair or strolling in the garden, take turns in this double-screen installation. Each individually they tell us what matters to them, what makes them happy and how they see themselves. The women in 'Forever' are mostly talking about their outer appearance. And yet, inner beauty is what is most important, says one of them, 'although that is reflected by someone's looks,' she adds. Does she mean that what it is about is the preservation of external beauty, which is after all the reflection of the unchangeable inner self? It is difficult to guess how old they are exactly. Nevertheless, the dark, slightly worn voice that we hear when we see a girlish figure with streaming hair sittingthere in a little pink summer dress, betrays that this cannot possibly be a young woman of around thirty. They take photos of themselves with a self-timer. The camera of the filmmaker always cautiously keeps its distance. The carefully created illusion of the age of their choice is not undermined anywhere just to make the image 'more realistic'. 'Forever' is a portrait of the way these women want to see themselves, and of the way they want us to see them if a filmmaker should portray them. Rudelius graciously gives them the chance. Fifteen minutes of fame. Forever as young as they were then, with the promise of the future preserved.

Nethelands Media Art Institute, Esma Moukhtar


Based in New York and Amsterdam, Rudelius uses video to stage intimate, often disquieting monologues, interviews and enactments, in which her subjects hold forth on their most private - and often embarrassing - thoughts and opinions. Whether condemning the poor for their neediness, discussing the merits of luxury-brand clothing or relating trumped-up tales of sexual exploits, her characters perform according to the scripts of their own vulnerability.

In 'Forever', Rudelius casts five American women, selected for their age and particular physical beauty, who pose for the camera around swimming pools at private homes in the Hamptons. Lounging on poolside chairs and pacing around manicured backyards, the women are interviewed - although Rudelius' questions are withheld - on topics ranging from beauty and privilege to plastic surgery and aging. These introspective soliloquies, suffused with unstated fears and anxieties, are punctuated by the women taking self-portraits with a polaroid camera. Tracing a path between pathos and critical realism, 'Forever' succeeds as portraiture and as an image of the genre itself.
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  • Date: 2006
  • Type: Installation
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: portrait, (experimental) documentary (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: installation - multi-channel video installation, identity, body, mass media, culture, image, youth, fear