Juan Downey - Las Meninas (1975)

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Las Meninas (Maids of Honor)
Juan Downey
1975, 20:34 min, color, sound

Las Meninas is a brilliant essay on illusionism, mirrors and perception in art, life and video, articulated by Downey as a subjective interpretation of Velasquez's eponymous Baroque masterpiece. Through a theatrical reenactment of the painting's pictorial tableau and a re-articulation of its complex perspectival structure, Downey brings to life the spatial dynamics, illustrating the psychological tension of the relationship between viewer and subject. Placing Las Meninas in a historical context, Downey relates the painting's thematics to Spain's economic and political systems of the late 17th century.

Performers: Carmen Beuchat, Suzanne Harris. Camera: Elaine Summers. Texts: Michel Foucault, George Kubler, Juan Downey. A production of the Artists' Visitation Program, Synapse Video Center, Syracuse University.

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