Drawing from the universal symbol for childhood that is heavily surrounded by nostalgia, Blue Is Seasonally Desired is a collection of video sculptures influenced by the sensory experience of the carousel and is the final work that will conclude Amato’s year long investigation into the American carousel. Santina Amato’s initial attraction to the carousel was to explore how she could intertwine a child-like aesthetic into society’s perspective of feminine beauty, attraction, sexuality and death.
Amato employed the services of master hand carvers from California, U.S.A who work to restore antique carousels that are dated from the turn of the 20th century up to the beginning of the Second World War, which is considered America’s historical golden age of carousels. The master hand carvers have created frames for flat screen televisions influenced by the antique carousels they work to restore. Lourinda Bray from Running Horses Studio in Los Angeles was employed to gild and stain the carvings in the traditional manner accustomed to the restoration process.
These beautiful and lush framed televisions play individual performances Amato filmed in 2011. The performances are influenced by the differences in the horse carvings Amato observed during her investigations into the American carousel. Fierce competition between the companies during the golden age of carousels resulted in each company creating their very own, very distinct styles. Their horses can be recognised based on the horse’s features, the way it was decorated, the expressions on their faces and also by the stance these horses held. Some portrayed horses in fierce battle whilst others were romantic in their expression, sweet and innocent looking.
Amato invited a friend (who also featured in an earlier work titled Horse Shed Their Tails Once A Year, 2011) to pose as these carved horses, replicating the same position and expression as best as she could, for as long as she could. The result of these durational video performances is a woman struggling to hold onto a very unnatural pose; salvia running down her face, uncontrollable twitching, blinking, etc.
The combination of these exquisitely hand carved and gold leaf gilded frames and the struggle contained within the video performances create an unsettling yet beautiful portraitrayel and relationship of women within history and women within contemporary society.
Blue Is Seasonally Desired is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts New Work Early Career grant.