Triumph of the Will

Curated by Fieldgate Gallery with Tom Dale, Kris Emmerson and Kathleen Herbert

9 October - 10 November 2012

Olympia, Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, is a masterpiece of cinematography that erotises the body beautiful and aestheticises perfection in a visual language still employed by the advertising industry today. It uses spectacle as a triumph of the ideal over labour. 

Yet the Olympics, by definition, were as much about failure as they were about success, where display conceals obsession, and where the repetition and pain required is sublimated into mesmeric entertainment. It is through the sheer Sisyphean pointlessness of this drama that such fallibilities become the subject of this exhibition. 

With comedy, pathos, and absurdity, something of the human is reinstated within the spectacle by these art works. In this respect, titling the exhibition after Riefenstahl’s more notorious film is not completely ironic, but rather, opens up a point of departure for small acts of resistance.

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