Outer and Inner Space (Andy Warhol / U.S., 1966):

Persona reversed as a Factory video installation: Bergman fuses Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson into one, Andy Warhol splinters Edie Sedgwick fourfold. The pixie starlet is perched on a stool and photographed from the neck up, suggesting a bird that wants to take flight but is weighted down by her dangling earrings. Behind her is a screen on which a recorded image of herself unspools. The "recorded" Edie is numinous, focused, and posed into a Cocteau profile; the "live" Edie is sheer, chain-smoking mercury, giggly and wounded. Warhol doubles the set-up and projects them side by side and forges a mural, or perhaps Picasso’s Girl Before a Mirror multiplied. Sedgwick prattles, puffs, sips coffee, guffaws, crosses her eyes -- flashes of grimacing chipmunk, death’s head, and grounded angel alternate. The garbled soundtrack is its own aural patchwork, wandering in and out of reach: "I’m losing my mind ... It’s very abstract ... It makes me so nervous to listen to it." Outer and inner space, outer and inner life. The gamine is startled when the image on the monitor sneezes, then tries to recreate the lost gesture: Sedgwick’s nervousness at the projected replica flickering behind her is that of a comet in helpless motion, afraid to look at the burning particles of its tail. The Chelsea Girls would later expand Warhol’s approach, but his touch was never more vulnerable and ruthless than here, contemplating the breathless muse imprisoned in the spotlight she so fervidly desired. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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