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Ablution 1 Collage.jpg

Ablution 1

Melanie Friedman, video work with collage, 2020

(17min 30sec)

Melanie Friedman

Melanie Friedman is an Australian based Canadian writer, performance artist and medical student.
Using poetry and performance she explores embodiment practices as a means of building

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Ablution 1: [video work with collage]

i am empty and i wonder

what do you feel like

This piece is a reflection of the past. Through exploring the language of the tarot, this piece can be seen as how the artist was raised and conditioned. The artist utilizes a dark cave to emphasize the subconscious setting of the performance while exploring the creation of a performative object through virtually embodied actions. The magazine used in this piece is a found issue of “Women’s Weekly”, a periodical filled with dieting strategies, gendered advertising, and older women reminiscing on how men have affected their lives. 

The artist uses images and writing from this magazine to highlight the inconsistencies and insecurities contained within the structure of feminine ideals. As seen in the video, these inconsistencies include a barbie and a doctor, a loving mother and a stressed one, someone who does too much but also needs to focus on self-care. The artist maintains that women are expected to be and do all of these things at once and because of these expectations, are being set up for inevitable failure. 

This piece is a broad look at how individuals experience expectations and how those expectations can influence their lives. The artist believes that through showcasing these expectations she can learn from them and can begin to choose healing rituals while leaving the rest behind. She hopes that through engaging with this piece you are able to consider the inconsistencies in your experience and do the same.

Ablution 2 Collage.jpg

Ablution 2

Melanie Friedman, video work with collage, 2020

(5min 26sec)

Ablution 2:


[video work with collage]


This piece reflects the present. Using the language of the tarot, this piece is taken to be the healing “now” and the learning that accompanies embodied experience. The artist uses previously selected images to build her collage while mimicking typical moisturizing gestures seen in certain acts of self-care. This piece speaks to the last, framing itself softly and out of focus in contrast to the cruel and sharp lighting reflecting off surfaces in her first video. 

The selected images represent visuals the artist has grown to love and are a subconscious reflection of the person she has become. Unlike the collage in her first video, the images used in this piece were thought out and considered prior to creation. These visuals are more in line with the artists current practice and the value she places on certain images over others. 

This performance is an act of love. Dearly created with an attempt to mimic an early Sunday morning haze, the artist worked to bring herself into the world as she is right now with room for future healing. She hopes that by engaging with this work, you can think about who you have become and cherish each piece of this new you. This work is also a reminder that we are constantly in flux and that even though one cycle moves towards completion, a new one awaits. 

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