Series Description

 
Stephen Varble on VDB TV – Lady Hercules, a Prelude to 'Journey to the Sun'
1982 | 00:43:32 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 16:9 | 3/4" U-matic video
Lady Hercules, a Prelude to ‘Journey to the Sun’
Video Details
Stephen Varble | 1982 | 00:43:32 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 16:9 | 3/4" U-matic video

Made after his epic Journey to the Sun, (1978-83), Lady Hercules, a Prelude to 'Journey to the Sun' was conceived as a prelude, and introduces some of the main sources for Varble's thought – actress Greta Garbo, spiritual leader Geore Gurdjieff, and founder of the Subud movement Muhammad "Pak" Subah. 

 

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Lady Hercules, a Prelude to ‘Journey to...
Video Details
Stephen Varble | 1982 | 00:43:32 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 16:9 | 3/4" U-matic video

Made after his epic Journey to the Sun, (1978-83), Lady Hercules, a Prelude to 'Journey to the Sun' was conceived as a prelude, and introduces some of the main sources for Varble's thought – actress Greta Garbo, spiritual leader Geore Gurdjieff, and founder of the Subud movement Muhammad "Pak" Subah. 

 

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We are thrilled to present Lady Hercules, a Prelude to 'Journey to the Sun'  by performance artist Stephen Varble.

Varble spent the last five years of his life working on an epic, unfinished performance-turned-video titled Journey to the Sun (1978-1983). Only partially complete and under constant revision, this complex work combined Varble’s history of making costumes for performances, with his fantastic stories involving metamorphosis and martyrdom. In 1982, Varble decided to make a “prelude” to Journey to the Sun, combining existing footage with new video taken in Riverside Park in New York City. This self-contained video differs greatly from the bulk of Journey to the Sun, in that it is not constructed around the main narrative, but rather is composed of prefatory remarks and extended footage of outdoor scenes, and contains no dialogue. The main aim of this prelude was to provide a key to some of the main sources for Varble’s thought — actress Greta Garbo, spiritual leader George Gurdjieff, and founder of the Subud movement Muhammad "Pak" Subuh. 

As Varble remarked in a 1983 statement, his “formidable task [was to] enhance the Garbo myth with every letter, add more and more music, petal power, animals, and trees, then shuffle her close-ups with only the finest artistic creations so that she may continue to encourage renaissance."

Lady Hercules, a Prelude to ‘Journey to the Sun’ is part of Stephen Varble: Videoworks, a compilation that combines it with the unfinished Journey to the Sun (1978-83), with contextualizing documentation of a 2018 screening of the work in Chicago, presented by author and curator David J. Getsy. Purchase here.

Stephen Varble exhibition in Chicago

This online screening, free to the general public, coincides with The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance Art in the 1970s, photographs by Greg Day, an exhibition curated by David J. Getsy, taking place at Chicago’s Iceberg Projects March 13th — April 4th, 2021.

A special event, Photography and Genderqueer History: Greg Day in conversation with David J. Getsy, on Photographing Stephen Varble and the 1970s, takes place Thursday, March 18th, 2021, 5 PM CST, via Zoom. In partnership with the School of the Art Institute Chicago.

Featured titles

Lady Hercules, a Prelude to ‘Journey to the Sun’, Varble

The performance artist Stephen Varble spent the last five years of his life working on an epic, unfinished performance-turned-video titled Journey to the Sun (1978-1983). Only partially complete and under constant revision, this complex work combined Varble’s history of making costumes for performances, with his fantastic stories involving metamorphosis and martyrdom. In 1982, Varble decided to make a “prelude” to Journey to the Sun, combining existing footage with new video taken in Riverside Park in New York City. This self-contained video differs greatly from the bulk of Journey to the Sun in that it is not constructed around the main narrative, but rather is composed of prefatory remarks and extended footage of outdoor scenes, and contains no dialogue. The main aim of this prelude was to provide a key to some of the main sources for Varble’s thought — actress Greta Garbo, spiritual leader George Gurdjieff, and founder of the Subud movement Muhammad "Pak" Subuh.

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