Rainer Variations

Charles Atlas

2002 | 00:41:30 | United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 4:3 |

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Dance, Documentary

"In the spring of 2002 I handed over to Charles Atlas a collection of films and videotapes in various formats that I had been accumulating with an eye to his editing them into what I call a "faux Rainer portrait" (though he may well call the final product something else).

The mix contained everything from interviews, rehearsals, films, and performance fragments to "impersonations", or actual Rainer interviews and rehearsals directed by me and re-enacted by others, in this case, the Martha Graham impersonator Richard Move and noted actor Kathleen Chalfant. Such a ploy is in keeping with my long-standing fascination with the phenomenon of performance and all its potential for dodgy dissembling and illusion. Also at play here is a skepticism about the conventions of the documentary form that purports to reveal the "real" artist who ultimately remains a persona or crafty impersonator of her own idealized self-image.

I chose Charles Atlas for the task after seeing his chameleon video portrait of the British dancer/ choreographer Michael Clark. The liberties that Atlas takes with those hallowed filmic and literary traditions of continuity and coherence appeal to my sense of mischief and play."

--Yvonne Rainer

"For me Rainer Variations is a hybrid: a weave of impressionistic portrait, found footage construction, and video sampler. Aside from formal issues, Yvonne Rainer’s knotty process of thinking, her unique brand of humor, and her engaging presence are the things that were foremost in my mind as I worked on the tape. What I hope will emerge from this process is an interrogative portrait of an artist for whom I have great respect and affection."

--Charles Atlas

This title is also available on A Woman Who...: Selected Works of Yvonne Rainer.

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