Cate Blanchett Plays 13 Different Roles in a New Exhibition

The actress tackles memorable artist manifestos.

Cate Blanchett as a news anchor. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne

Cate Blanchett stars in German artist Julian Rosefeldt’s upcoming exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

In Rosefeldt’s new work, which sees its world premiere on December 9 at the ACMI, Blanchett takes on the guise of a homeless man, a newsreader, school teacher, factory worker, ballet dancer, and rock chick, among other roles. The Academy Award winner is no stranger to adopting different characters in her prolific Hollywood career, and at times she appears almost unrecognizable.

As far as move star art efforts go, we’d say this one is pretty good. Blanchett is certainly more convincing than James Franco was in his ill-conceived recreation of Cindy Sherman‘s “Untitled Film Stills” series, although the piece is no Shia LaBeouf movie marathon.

Cate Blanchett as a homeless man. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne

Cate Blanchett as a homeless man.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne.

Titled Manifesto, the 13-channel work casts Blanchett in different roles to recite 13 artist manifestos, from the writings of Futurists and Dadaists, to Situationists and Dogma 95, as well as individuals such as Claes Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Elaine Sturtevant, and Sol LeWitt, among other artists, architects, dancers, and filmmakers.

With its simultaneous look at manifestos comprised throughout the 20th century, the work attempt to “question the role of the artist in society today.”

Cate Blanchett as a teacher. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne

Cate Blanchett as a teacher.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne.

Rosenfeldt explains in an interview, “I started to play with the texts and to edit, combine and rearrange them into new texts that could be spoken and performed […] I would take a sentence by one artist and interrupt it with the words of another one.”

Cate Blanchet as a coreographer. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne

Cate Blanchet as a choreographer.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne.

He insisted, “While in one way the process of collaging them together was maybe not very respectful to the original texts, in another I liked the way that it referenced this idea of a collection of voices, a conversation.”

Rosefeldt praised Blanchett’s “profound experience and incredible talent,” and said she “admirably retained her very special sense of humor,” under the challenging circumstances, which included using 12 different accents and a tight timeframe; the project was filmed in less than two weeks in Berlin last winter.

Cate Blanchett as a news reporter. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne

Cate Blanchett as a news reporter.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and ACMI, Melbourne.

By performing different writings, Rosefeldt also explores the individual artist’s frame of mind. “Their manifestos are not only texts which are intended to turn art—and eventually the whole world—upside down and revolutionize it; at the same time they are testimonials about the search for identity,” he said.

Cate Blanchett is also the honoree of the MoMA’s eighth annual Film Benefit, which takes place tonight.

“Manifesto” runs from December 9, 2015 – March 13, 2016 at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne.


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