Delphine de Oliveira
Puzzling face of a young woman sitting somewhere in Paris in an inner courtyard: pale-moon oval in front of sheet black - as though it were meant to celebrate the genius of photography, in shimmers of black and white film a few fleeting and silent minutes long. Solve a riddle: destroy it. Here, it is preserved. What the countenance shows remains concealed. It comes to light: withdraws. The lips, this dimpled chin - as though a sob that finds itself under skin. After distant ghostly laughs, the gaze glides to face the void while madness draws over the features, which are gentle and unsettling, half related to the shudder of Medea-Medusa, half androgynous angel; hard to say if she is beautiful, ugly, or horrific with her high forehead under flaming crown of hysterically lambent and voluptuously frothing cataract of hair. Alchemy of a portrait film, a little is transformed into a lot. Caught in the spell of eyes that are abysses, wars, and dream flows. Homage, as they say, also a maelstrom of a question. Who is Delphine de Oliveira? Opening, film plus filmed face speak openly - and are closed. Paradoxes of portraits that maintain their right to stay a mystery. At the beginning, disturbing pans across dark interiors. Film images projected onto the wall, showing another young woman, in whom life and passion destroy one another. Afterward, Delphine, in a mild sunlight, nonetheless under the northern lights of finitude: proud, pensive, disturbing, disturbed. Neither appropriable nor explicable. Beguiled being or enchanted enchantress from a conte de fées, a fairy tale, as close as the quotidian, but further away than Shangri-La. Quiescent middle of the film. Only the shocking final image uncovers what was hitherto invisible: the anorexic body. Like magic dissolved in reality and film dissolved in the pale white of its end.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
The latest film by photographer and filmmaker Friedl vom Gröller is the short portrait of a woman full of secrets. The viewer can observe her but is not given any information about who she might be: a perfect mirror for our own projections.
In darkness, a film projector is running and a close-up shot of a beautiful woman is appeared on the screen. The audience then face the visage of the woman, Delphine de Oliveira. The camera captures smile on her face, her hair, even minuet movement of her eyes. The beautiful subject swings on her heel and leaves the camera. The camera keeps staring at her back. This film conveys a short but very impressive portrait of the moment.
Friedl vom Gröller