Jil Guyon is an American multidisciplinary artist who works between performance, visual art, and digital media. She is the creator of the WIDOW SERIES - an open-ended collection of solo, movement-based works made for stage, screen, and print. In each creation the Widow character is featured as a bereaved woman wearing a black dress, heels, and unfurling belt. Archetypal subtexts - the movie star; the femme fatale; the survivor; the lonely wanderer - hover over the performative space, creating a symbolic arena for the investigation of female agency in the wake of loss.
A single performer acting as the Widow character occupies a bare room. The audience is invited to sit or stand anywhere within the performance space. With this configuration the viewer can choose to watch, at close range, the performer, and/or one another watching. The performer’s suspenseful walk downstage, executed in radically slow time, creates an intimate psychological space as she engages in a highly concentrated energetic exchange with the audience. Impeccably controlled movement combines with an austere visual and sonic beauty, initiating a mediation on the contours of grief and the expectations of viewership in relation to the spectacle of performance.
Each cinematic video features the Widow figure as a lone woman driven into an unexpected environment by unconscious forces. As she traverses shifting typographies, the desolation of her interior world is both reflected in, and witnessed by, her surroundings. Autobiography combines with strangeness, poetry, and catharsis to form a non-linear visual narrative free of singular intent - inviting viewers to make intuitive connections between personal history, gestures, and ideas.
Video locations include: 3-Legged Dog Center for Art and Technology’s futuristic hallway, The Tube; a Times Square plaza; the Utah Salt Flats; and a volcanic rock quarry in southern Iceland.
Set in two locations - the iconic, futuristic 3LD hallway, The Tube, and the Utah Salt Flats - the Widow character re-performs the choreography of the original live performance. The force of her manipulation of the unfurling belt results in a gestural calligraphy that gives voice to her internal struggle and the darker regions of the female psyche.