Juan Downey (1940-1993)
Las Meninas (Maids of Honor) (1975)
1975, 20:34 min, color, sound
Las Meninas is a brilliant essay on illusionism, mirrors and perception in art, life and video, articulated by Downey as a subjective interpretation of Velasquez's eponymous Baroque masterpiece. Through a theatrical reenactment of the painting's pictorial tableau and a re-articulation of its complex perspectival structure, Downey brings to life the spatial dynamics, illustrating the psychological tension of the relationship between viewer and subject. Placing Las Meninas in a historical context, Downey relates the painting's thematics to Spain's economic and political systems of the late 17th century.
Performers: Carmen Beuchat, Suzanne Harris. Camera: Elaine Summers. Texts: Michel Foucault, George Kubler, Juan Downey. A production of the Artists' Visitation Program, Synapse Video Center, Syracuse University. -- EAI
This title is available for exhibitions, screenings, and institutional use through Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY. Please visit the EAI Online Catalogue for further information about this artist and work. The EAI site offers extensive resources for curators, students, artists and educators, including: an in-depth guide to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving media art; A Kinetic History: The EAI Archives Online, a collection of essays, primary documents, and media charting EAI's 40-year history and the early years of the emergent video art scene; and expanded contextual and educational materials.