"When the working day is done, girls just wanna have fun." Here comes the second act of Friedl vom Gröller's mischievous male striptease. A man is gradually shed of his underwear for her camera. Redskins is a 3-minute film that follows in the wake of vom Gröller's Palmer. The title plays on an impossibly fraught concept and brand name that lives on in the French clothing industry, while having finally been stripped in 2020 from American football culture after long years of rancorous debate. In Redskins, the tight boxer shorts are likewise stripped, laying private parts bare or in fact power relations – through the sheer reversal of the dispositive in rearranging the order of the gaze.
The seductive art of undressing takes place in front of an art object enveloped in bubble wrap, behind which two hands emerge to gradually strip and reveal male genitalia. Behold, a picture of a man, a frame, the gaze of a woman. While the Palmer striptease was assisted by the finger performance of an allied female filmmaker, here the delicate hands we see could be assigned to a masculine being. Who exactly is complicit in Friedl von Gröller's gradual disrobing of the man remains a sweet secret in Redskins.
The fingers pause in midst of the striptease, the camera pans left over an unmade bed and to a desk: a gesture of embarrassment, or perhaps even of flirtatious shame? The unveiling proceeds. Then the camera pans to the right, capturing a suitcase on the floor before returning to the table with photo camera. This is a private, intimate setting – not a staged or anonymous studio scene. The performance takes place for the filmmaker and is orchestrated by her.
The end credits "sign" the bubble wrap with "F.v.G. 2023". This is Friedl vom Gröller's work, her gaze, her view of the world. It is said so beautifully in Yasmo's compelling cover version of Cindy Lauper's 1980s hymn to female self-determination quoted at the opening and here most apt: "I don't want to fit into a picture that I haven't painted myself." (Regina Schlagnitweit)
Translation: Eve Heller
Friedl vom Gröller