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Elke Andreas Boon

Me and My Sister

Annie Gentils Gallery, Antwerp

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Artist
Elke Andreas Boon
Title
Me and My Sister
Year
2010
Duration
10 min 30 s
Format & Technical

Single channel, loop, HD video, colour, black and white, sound
5 + 1 AP

  • Music: Elke Andreas Boon
  • Voice: Elke Andreas Boon
  • Produced by: Elke Andreas Boon
  • Postproduction: Elke Andreas Boon
  • Sound Mix: Elke Andreas Boon
  • Photography: Elke Andreas Boon
  • Cast: Stephanie & Magali Callebaut

Two very similar women, facing each other at a short distance in a neutral setting where what stands out is the expression and the beauty of their faces. A single action in an endless loop happens: the slow movements of the woman who smokes and exhales the cigarette fumes in the other’s face, provoking irritation until tears come to her eyes. The tension felt during the ten and a half minutes of the video Me and my sister is as strong as it is contained. One couldn’t say why, but in the midst of the silence, there is a certain sensual drive, a sort of antagonism, a kind of eroticism… What might happen between them is left to the viewers’ imaginations: the alternatives are all their own.

Elke Andreas Boon presents the human condition, the singularity of the individual, as the central question of her work. She takes on this topic through interrogation and uneasiness and by posing open situations. She does not give solutions, as is evident in the video, but instead multiplies the questions, leaving them unanswered. This is why they are fertile, generating unforeseen nuances.

The artist’s unique approach in this video exposes one of the fundamental difficulties in the construction of subjectivity and individuals’ identities. Me and my sister is about two twin sisters and points to the relationship between “Me” and the “Other”. Through a personal game of mirrors, she poses questions about the notion of identity and bonds, addressing one of a person’s most pivotal issues, and the main vehicle for multiple and complex meanings: filial love and family roots.

Boon goes further in this articulation by altering the word order of the piece’s title. Placing the first person pronoun at the beginning might suggest an exploration of the individual “me” as it springs from a relationship with the “other”. No one knows which of the two sisters is the “Me”: the one who stares, smokes, and inundates with cigarette fumes, or the one who looks away, remaining impassive to the other’s actions. Whichever one it is, this piece is a suggestive way of addressing the difficulty of thinking about ourselves separately from our family environments, as well as how to make this visible or represent it. These questions coincide with the nature of the chosen media: video. The camera —a single seeing eye— faces the others, who think of themselves in reference to it.

Blanca del Río

Stills