Australian Video Art Archive

Jill Orr


Myer Windows

00:07:50 1997

This work was commissioned by Maudie Palmer, curator of Visual Arts, for the 1997 Melbourne International Festival.

The brief was to create a performance installation to operate for 17 days and nights for the four main display windows of the Myer Department Store on Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD. Myer is the first house of fashion created in the early days of Melbourne and still operates today.

I focused on issues of fashion, the desire for the ideal body, the romance created by fashion, which is never quite attained. Hence, the performances of Anorexia, Ice Queen, Cracked Divas, Nocturna and the Panther, Dolls, Cats, Mad Alice etc.

Each of the four windows was painted a different colour: a pastel pink and a dreamy blue for the more surreal and gentler emotions; a puke green and a reverberating orange for the more extreme actions like anorexia.

I worked with slanted mirrors, perspex slabs and perspex coffins which were interchangeable and multi functional sculptural elements, depending on the scenario. The performance was witnessed through the windows and the action was reliant on visible physical language as the communicative device. The reflective qualities of both the windows and mirrors, by implication, involved the viewer in the spectacle of shopping for an ideal.

Co–Performers: Lynne Santos and Gretel Taylor.

DVD available.