|Each of the 8 floors of the aparthotel Urbis, in Valencia, has three apartments that are exactly alike. A total of 24 identical apartments, identical green carpeting, identical kitchenette, identical beige bathtub. The elevator stops in each floor and the 24 actors and actresses that play “La Marquesa Rosalinda” in the nearby Teatro Rialto, every evening, bid each other good night. In the elevator I run into Pilar Rebollar, the minute actress that wonderfully plays the role of “menina”. Pilar presses the button for the 6th floor with the tip of her unfolding umbrella. During the elevator trip, she tells me of her daily adventure in her apartment: opening the drawers of the closet to use them as steps to hung her coat; climbing on a stool to reach the mirror and take off her make up; climbing on the couch to open the window. Her apartment is identical to the others, but for her, it undergoes an alteration of scale.
10 years later I asked Pilar to play the role of Simo in my first video.
The idea of forging a cannon of the human figure through a system of harmonic proportions and constructions has had a prominent role in Western culture, from the Greek kuroi to the Modulor by Le Corbusier, and by extension, to all the production of artificial objects. In the small white room, Simo becomes the model, in the double meaning of archetype and main role. Surrounded by objects, she demonstrates that the ideal prototype actually corresponds to a stereotype. Simo acts without pause, compulsively, carrying fetishes, and shows us, through the transparent wall of her room, that the idea of a universal model is in crisis.
Some have interpreted Simo as the antithesis of Simon of the Desert, the hermit living on top of a column, giving up the world, as described in Luis Buñuel’s movie. Simo’s world is crowded with bags that contain boxes, and boxes that contain objects. Driven by the logic of the horror vacui, she will end up taking apart the set to fill up her little white room. The audience will follow the wordless, precise movements of this new model, reflected in the hypnotic seesaw motion of the camera, the mechanic eye that watches her, which is her own.
Simo. Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid 2005
Video and projection room
Master Betacam SP
Edition of 3 ex. and 1 AP
Edited in loop
Performed by: Pilar Rebollar
Assistant director: Rosa Novell
Director of actors: Marcos Pasquin
Director of photography: Toni Andreu
Costumes: Pep Duran y Nina Pawlowski
Make-up and hair styling: Joan Alonso
Set and props: Connie Mendoza y Jaume Parera, con la colaboración de Yamandú Canosa
With the assistance of: Paloma Unzeta
Key grip: Manolo Cortina
Catering: Ana Mendoza
Still photography: Enric Berenguer
Post-production video: Sayago
Production audio: Give me sound
People: Ahmed Ahrad, Carmen Balcells, Enric Berenguer, Mercedes Borges, Agustina Calsina, Yamandú Canosa, Alex, Júlia, Josep i Jordi Colomer Jr, Montse Cuchillo, Pep Duran, Jordi Encinas, César Giravent & Cel·la, Anna Guarro, Nacho Hernando, William Jeffet, Josep Llobell, Roc Llobell, Francesc Malpesa, Mireya Masó, Virginia Marx, Montse Matutano, Connie Mendoza, Quim Nolla, Rosa Novell, Adrià Olivares, Sergi Olivares, Marie Patou, Margarita Patou, Nina Pawlowski, Jaume Parera, Carlos Pazos, Javier Peñafiel, Alberto Peral, Julián Perrier, Carla Punset, Serafín Rodríguez, Nono Ruiz Daroca & July, Jaume Sandoval, Paloma Unzeta y el perro Terry.
Produced by: MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona)