BADEHAUS - BATHHOUSE
Kristina Inčiūraitė’s videos explore various features of female identity. The starting point of her investigations is the observation that contemporary society’s role models for women continue to be dominated by visually demanding—i.e. male-determined—stereotypes. In Inčiūraitė’s work, criticism of this representational model takes place in her use of documentary-style techniques against the backdrop of historical women’s lives whose current relevance seems or could appear to seem obsolete. Badehaus—Bathhouse, created and presented at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, continued this representation of women’s discourses from a historical perspective.
Badehaus—Bathhouse was inspired by the movie Ecstasy (1933) starring Austrian actress Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, who later became famous in Hollywood as Hedy Lamarr. The movie, showing a young, twenty-year old actress performing in an at least 10-minute-long nude swimming scene, shocked both European society and her husband, Austrian industrialist Fritz Mandl, who unsuccessfully tried to purchase all existing copies of the film.
In an attempt to recreate the scandalous atmosphere of this movie, Inčiūraitė chose an impressive, still-operational bathhouse on Salurner Straße in Innsbruck. When it opened in 1927, this bathhouse was the most modern and most beautiful in Austria. The video combined shots of the empty bathhouse with personal opinions from young drama students at the Schauspielforum Tirol (acting school) responding to the following questions: What do future actresses think of nudity? What is the correlation between erotic and shame? Could they perform naked in a pool-swimming scene? Could anyone forbid them from taking such a role? Although the video has much to say about the body and sex, the protagonists themselves remain invisible. The body-related narration takes place primarily at the level of language, the dynamism of which contrasts with the static, minimalist and sometimes frozen images seen in the video.
Kristina Inčiūraitė (*1974) lives in Vilnius/LT. In thematicizing personal memories and notions of female identity, her video works record and reflect social and psychological changes in post-Soviet Lithuanian society.