Artist Profile: Gabriella and Silvana Mangano

3 July 2012 | 10:57 am | Paul Andrew

Five minutes with Gabriella and Silvana Mangano.

Gabriella and Silvana have been collaborating since 2001 when the sisters were studying drawing at the Victorian College of Arts. They are best known for their video art works involving props, dance, gestural “mirroring” sequences influenced by historical drawing techniques. “Seeing an iconic Rebecca Horn video titled Pencil Mask (1972) was a defining moment and steered us into working in video”, reveals Gabriella. “ It was Horn's exploration between the equilibrium of space and the body, and in particular her use of sculptural body extensions gave us a new stimulus to push drawing into new sphere.  Keeping Pencil Mask in mind we made our first video Drawing 1.

Endless End is one of the works we showed at the Monash Exhibition survey in 2009. This piece I mention as it embodies our relationship and our working processes. It suggests a dialogue between the two of us. One as performer and the other as camera operator. It operates in unison, a silent conversation that displays our intuitive approach to making work; the symmetry of panning of the lens and the movement of the body. The video was filmed in a darkened room. The person behind the camera had no perception of where the other body was until the moment when the window shutters let light into the room.

“We were also influenced by the documentation of many early performance artists such as Marina Abramović and Ulay Laysiepen. In some ways we take the same principles of live performances when filming. Our approach is one that is not hugely rehearsed as we prefer to let the conditions of the space influence our movements while still keeping in mind the concept of the work. “

Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano's Between Near and Far and Neon runs from Wednesday 27 June – Sunday 16 September, Museum  of Contemporary Art, part of 18th Biennale of Sydney: All Our Relations .

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