Akeroyd Collection


Martine Syms, Capricorn, 2019

Capricorn is a short video work, looped as an infinite character study of a female golfer on a driving range. The work is presented in the manner of a sportswear advertizement. Like an advert, each loop is roughly 100-seconds in duration and includes distant shots that emphasize the athleticism, skill and physique of the subject, and close crops of her face as the camera tries to glean something of their psychology. The golfer, however, clad in a printed Marine Serre bodysuit and fluorescent green sports T-shirt, doesn’t offer the aspirational image of the sports personality we might expect. She intermittently warms up, dances and takes on a driving range in unconventional swings. While the fragmented, choppy edit is a familiar trope of such adverts, the music, combined with the original camera sounds of the balls, wind, the distant traffic and the golfers breath and vocal exclamations evokes something more sinister. From deep electronic drones to echoing percussion the music glitches and time-stretches as the body goes through cycles of exhaustion, frustration and elation. Finally, we see the golfer, performing jazz-era tap moves, using a golf club like Fred Astaire’s cane to the intense cascading percussion of a drum and bass tune. The commercial idealization of figures such as Serena Williams or Florence Griffith Joyner, so pervasive in advertizing, is undermined. Here we see the black body reclaimed as vulnerable, as fallible, as determined, as human.

Duration1 minute 37 seconds, looped
Editionof 5 + 1 AP