Video still, When We Are Dying
Inez de Vega is an Australian artist who lives and works in Melbourne. Her work is realised through live performance or captured on video.
Borrowing visual imagery from the history of Western cinema and theatre, and rewriting the lyrics to old songs, de Vega plays with the past to create contemporary narratives of trauma, transgression and psychological neuroses.
In video works such as Olympia (2013), de Vega films herself interacting with characters and sequences from old movies, employing her 'film-colonising' technique to situate herself within the frame of another director's masterpiece.
Her public works have examined the relentless excesses of self-criticism, and range from interviewing passers-by on the street to determine if the artist is too fat (Tell Me the Truth) to succumbing to the hysteria of city living (Swanston Street) to lying in a pool of vomit accompanied by a soundtrack that suggests — dishearteningly — that she is "only doing it for attention".
The individuals de Vega creates are driven to extremes. They transgress social norms and articulate the mental states that collectively we do our best to hide from one another. But whether our mental suffering is the result of a diagnosable psychiatric illness or the anxieties of everyday living, we each find a way of acting out the distress that issues from our neuroses. And so de Vega asks herself: how do we perform our own madnesses?