One of the most scandalous events of the 51st Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2005 was the screening of the trailer for the remake of the film Caligula Tinto Brass, which was shot by Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli. Art critics were shocked not by sadomasochistic and pornographic scenes (they had never seen such a thing in their lifetime), but by the quality with which this costumed short film was shot, and also by the fact that the stars of commercial cinema were involved in it – Helen Miren, Milla Jovovich , Courtney Love, Benicio del Toro and others. However, such a negative reaction is more than surprising. For two decades, video artists have been attracting professional, and sometimes star actors, for their filming.
For example, the American artist Matthew Barney in the Cremaster series, which was originally intended to be shown in movie theaters, not only spent millions of dollars on sets, enchanting costumes, professional assistants and cameramen (a budget of $ 5 million is nothing for Hollywood, but an unthinkable scale for video art), but also involved in the filming of celebrities like the “first girl” James Bond actress Ursula Andrei.
In the late 90s, British artist Sam Taylor-Wood began filming her most probably famous series of video portraits, “Crying Men,” in which she portrayed famous actors Tim Roth, Lawrence Fishburne, Ben Stiller and others during moments of intimate experiences. Takeshi Murakami seduced Kirsten Dunst in the manga video clip, Charlotte Gainsbourg starred in the video of the young Chinese artist Yi Zhou with the poetic title “My heart lay naked”, and Björk embellished the presence of the last masterpiece of her ex-husband Matthew Barney Drawing Restraint 9. But the most Tilda Swinton, an actress with an infernal appearance, who has appeared in a whole galaxy of famous video projects, made a great contribution to the development of the modern “videographer”.
It was she who became the muse of fashion designer Hussein Chalayan for his video installation “Absence of presence” and the protagonist of a grandiose project by the American artist Doug Aitken Sleepwalker, which was projected onto the facade of the New York MoMA Museum. However, Tilda Swinton not only acts as a model and muse, but also in collaboration with the artist Cornelia Parker conducts actions and performances. Why did video artists who initially contrasted themselves with the commercial consumer goods of dream factories need famous people?