Filmed entirely in the newly refurbished De La Warr Pavilion, a 1930s modernist masterpiece by Eric Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff in Bexhill-on-Sea, the theme of ‘Wintergarden’ was suggested to Martin by the unrealised plan to install a large statue of the Greek goddess in the Pavilion’s courtyard. Here she appears as Kore, her second name in Greek mythology, a young woman recuperating in a seaside sanatorium; it is only when her eyes close on the watery horizon, and the daylight recedes into darkness, that her descent begins.
The ‘wintergarden’ through which Kore passes is an extraordinary creation of straight lines and organic curves, a place in which nature and artifice are cultivated equally. It is in this spectacular, prismatic Pavilion that its inhabitants — Greek gods and goddesses, Weimar Sirens, and dancers who, in their graphic linearity, might equally have emerged from the Bauhaus or 80s New York club land — are encouraged to act out their desires amongst the sweeps of gleaming chrome. Drawing on an extraordinary array of textual and visual influences, ‘Wintergarden’ is a vision, both dark and dazzling, that suggests that even in the most deathly and barren realms, the possibility of nourishment and renewal remains.
MORE ON DARIA MARTIN: American born artist Daria Martin studied at Yale University and later did her MFA at the University of California in Los Angeles. She now lives and works in London. In 2005 Martin was shortlisted for the Beck’s Futures prize and her film Soft Materials (2004) is included in the Hayward Gallery Touring Exhibition the British Art Show 6. In 2006, she is showing as part of Tate Britain’s Triennial exhibition which showcases the best in contemporary art. Wintergarden is commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with De La Warr Pavilion. Supported by Arts Council England.