The outstanding filmic oeuvre of US artist Ellen Cantor catches the eye for her virtuoso use of found footage. Sequences from classic movies, Disney productions, New Wave cinema, and horror movies, as well as her own footage, are edited to create narrative collages that focus on female desire, sexuality, eroticism, extreme emotions, social conflicts, politics, psychology, and institutional violence.
After studying Painting at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (1983) Cantor worked in the 1980s and early 1990s primarily in the genres of painting and sculpture, later she made a name for herself with video works and drawings. A leitmotif in her practice is her statement that ‘My perversion is the belief in true love’, which not only reflects her personal view but also references her approach, which is essentially that reception must be critical (‘Don’t trust the image’). A central line in her work is an insistence on subverting concepts of femininity conveyed by the media and in culture, breaking open clichés on female identity, and exploring new forms of self-expression.
Ellen Cantor, born in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan, died in 2013 in New York, lived and worked in London and New York.