Jo Graell addresses in her work sensations, desires, a sense of imprisonment in mental states and social conditions, which can escalate into extreme emotional situations, and finally, the search for liberation from such conditions.
Perhaps less obvious in terms of its visual force, but no less important: the incorporation of the nature elements, those are always present in her films as well as inadequate objects for the use they suppose to have, The symbolic transfer of the objects image into the range of the interpersonal, the societal and, last but not least, the personal identity is not new, but it is exactly here that Jo Graell achieves a reference to a wide range of associative experience with her choice of material.
Inauguración: Martes 3 de julio de 2012, a las 20h.
Opening: Tuesday July 3th. 2012, at 8 p.m.
galeria H2O, Carrer Verdi, 152. 08012 Barcelona
T 934 151 801, http://www.h2o.es
fluctuting ermotions and the questions they pose
The first part of the trilogy, begins with views of a deserted, ghostly ruin in the woods. Within the house a young woman whose beautiful face is marked by pain catches dripping rainwater in a glass and drinks it. A male, relatively coarse hand appears and fondles her, caresses her, to some extent, roughly. at first she surrenders to this, then reciprocates it. He, who is only vaguely and dimly discernible, strokes the water on her skin and lips. The intimacies increase and seem to go to extremes. Thin pieces of fabric, similar to bandages, slip from the woman's body, revealing it, and lace around her limbs tightly. A glass which she drops shatters on the floor and abruptly ends the ecstatic scene, it seems it leads her out of a memory back into reality. In one of the last frames she lies alone in the cold, huddled on a path near the ruin.
longing a sense of lacking
In About II, a darkly clad woman walks through the scenery of a white, treeless, snowy landscape. The viewer follows her and her footprints in the snow. Soon she begins to undress, first by untying the light strips of fabric under her coat - the same bandages that were already shown in the first video. The woman digs a hole in the surface of the snow and ice, first with her bare hands, then using a hoe. The velocity of the staccato rhythm of chopping increases rapidly, matching the music that drives this scene to its climax, until she abruptly ceases. Finally she stands naked and motionless, in front of the hole, gazing past it into the distance, towards a previously unseen forest.
searching and finding
In the third part of the trilogy, a woman slowly floats underwater in a state of weightlessness, swathed loosely with the familiar bandages. Beneath a surface of ice, the bubbles of her breath cluster. Initially tranquil, her apparent search for an escape increases to mounting agitation. She tries to break away from the strips of fabric by pulling them, but they wrap around her and her neck even tighter. Her anxiety, which grows into panic, is dramatically highlighted by the music, until the woman finds a hole in the ice, swims up to it to breathe, while the fabric strips slowly sink to the bottom of the water.
It appears in all three videos in different situations and states of matter, therefore immediately suggesting a metaphorical function. In the first part of the trilogy, with the act of drinking, water appears as an almost mythical symbol of life and renewal. Beyond this vital intake, it simultaneously implies the absorption of the immaterial. In the second part, the element appears as snow and ice, not only insinuating cold, and thus also danger, but also making it tangible. In the third part, water again is liquid, here it completely envelops the body, and proves to be a cause of mortal danger in the situation of imminent drowning.
Holding a BA in Psychology and a PHD in Pedagogy from The University of Valencia, director Jo Graell studied filmmaking at the Centre D'Estudis Cinematogràfics de Catalunya, (CEEC) in Barcelona. In 1997 she was awarded first prize at the 2nd European Photography Biennale for her series Through the Glass. Jo Graell moved to New York in 1999 to work on experimental filmmaking. In 2000, she relocated to Berlin, where she worked as a VJ and began directing videos for musicians, actors and screenings. She co-founded the project Acustic Moon Club and the sound group Apocalypsis Noise both in Berlin. In 2003 Graell received the Tirant award for her experimental video Tres en Raya (three in a row). She completed her first documentary film Viaje al Pais de los Moluk (Journey to the Land of the Moluk) in Morocco in 2001. Her second documentary Odeon El tiempo suspendido has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, see link.
Graell has directed several short films such as Sound of City (New York, 1999), Geräusche der Stadt (Berlin, 2000) Tokyo Dance (Tokyo, 2001), Partir Avec Vu (Paris, 2005), Zeit Zu Gehen (Valencia, 2005). She has also organized cultural and audiovisual events in Barcelona and Berlin. From 2007 to 2009 Graell combined her filmmaking with her project El Escaparate, selecting artists to exhibit in a shop window that she created in Barcelona. In 2012 Graell completed her experimental film trilogy About, which was shown as an installation at H20 Gallery in Barcelona in July 2012. She currently resides in Berlin and Barcelona, working on video stories and bookmaking. Her most recent project is a short dance film entitled MUINA.