Bergen Kunsthall is proud to present an exhibition by Loretta Fahrenholz, featuring her new film Trash The Musical (2023). The 37-minute-long film was produced over the past two years in collaboration with performance artist and actor Alicia McDaid. In the film, we follow McDaid from Los Angeles, where she lives, to Philadelphia, her former hometown, to clear out the house of her recently deceased uncle. During the months needed to sort the chaotic property’s contents – artworks, various collections of things and personal items amassed over decades – the house becomes her daily stage for performing musical numbers and bizarre self-presentations. The film is made mostly from material shot by McDaid, including scenes that were initially made for social media platforms used by McDaid as outlets for her performative production as well as personal exchange. Surrounded by her uncle’s belongings piled up around her, McDaid slips into the roles of celebrities and movie characters, performing makeup tutorials, TikTok dances and social-critical rants, edited by Fahrenholz into a wild post-cinematic collage.
Fahrenholz is known for films and photographic works which are often produced through long-term collaborations. Resisting categorization, Fahrenholz’s films experiment with different genres and cinematic styles, from documentary to fiction, and explore their visual and narrative ideologies. Many of her works incorporate new formats of image production and distribution, such as photos or videos made on smartphones, 3-D scanners and AI technology, and the ways they are used to document or stage individual or collective identities. Distinct cultural contexts appear in her work as research fields to examine the ways in which subjects create relationships to larger social systems, such as politics or economy.
In Trash The Musical, the house and its contents provide a stage for McDaid but also function as a mirror. Working through the mess, she radically explores personal anxieties and questions of ageing, unfulfilled dreams, and the difference between art and trash. The film is edited from enormous amounts of footage, which Fahrenholz processed as a way of making film within the changing conditions of moving image production. While most scenes work with elements of self-staging, there is also a high level of intimacy since the material is strongly connected to concrete life situations. The film keeps this tension tangible, as a moment in which the direction of one’s own image can be liberating as well as overwhelming.
Loretta Fahrenholz is based in Berlin. She exhibited widely internationally, with solo shows at the Kunsthalle Zürich (2015), Fridericianum Kassel and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016), mumok Vienna (2018), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2021) and Kölnischer Kunstverein (2022), amongst many others.