Feature–length documentary portrait of the New York artist Carolee Schneemann by Canadian filmmaker Marielle Nitoslawska. A pioneer of performance and body art as well as avant-garde cinema, Schneemann has been breaking the frames of the art world for five decades, in a variety of mediums, challenging assumptions of feminism, gender, sexuality, and identity.
Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939 in Philadelphia) — a groundbraking performance, body art and avant—garde cinema American multidisciplinary artist. She transformed the definition of art, especially discourse on the body, sexuality and gender identity in the fields of painting, sculpture, installation art and video art. Most importantly, with key performance works such as Meat Joy (1964) and Interior Scroll (1975), Schneemann broke new grounds within the Happening and performance fields, subverting taboos facing women artists in the 60s and 70s.
Marielle Nitoslawska (b. 1953 in Montreal) — filmmaker, cinematographer and film professor. She served as Chair of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University (2009-2012).
Born in Canada, she remained in Poland for a decade. She received her B.F.A. in Studio Arts and Art History from Concordia University, Montreal, and an M.F.A., magna cum laude in Cinematography from the Polish National Film School in Łódź. She has worked as a filmmaker during the social and cultural upheavals that led to the fall of that country’s communist government. There, she shot numerous exploratory ethnographic films in 35mm and actively participated in the underground media arts movement in Łódź, with friends and mentors from the Workshop of Film Form.
Nitoslawska has made numerous film essays, both feature length and short form on ground-breaking movements and artists such as Domingo Cisneros, Szczepan Mucha, Jozef Robakowski, and Carolee Schneemann. Poetic and unconventional, her films explore the ideas behind the work of these artists and their contemporary significance. Her films have received critical acclaim and extensive festival play, and include Bad Girl (2002), a groundbreaking documentary investigating explicit representations of female sexuality; Sky Bones (1999, nominated for Best Art Doc, Hot Docs); and Choices: An Artist From Eastern Europe Speaks Out (1987), included in the National Gallery of Canada’s permanent collection.
She has also collaborated widely as an award-winning cinematographer on documentary, experimental and fiction films for a variety of directors. Her work has exhibited internationally at museums, art institutions, galleries, biennials and film festivals, including the National Gallery of Canada, Musée du Québec, WRO Biennale (Poland), Goethe-Institut New York, Vancouver Film Festival, Hot Docs, INPUT, FIFA, and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.
In 2006 she received the Faculty of Fine Arts Distinguished Teaching Award. She directs the Possible Movements Lab, a research group in experimental documentary, at Concordia’s Hexagram Institute for Media Arts.
Her work is defined by an experimental approach to structure and explorations into narrative and representation.
She is the author of the first feature documentary on Carolee Schneemann, Breaking the Frame, whose continental premiere will take place during the upcoming WRO 2013 Pioneering Values.
She lives and works in Montreal.