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Josefin Arnell

Wild Filly Story

Fiction expérimentale | mp4 | couleur | 22:0 | Suède, Pays-Bas | 2020

Wild Filly Story is starring a pack of adolescent girls on a therapy horse stable in the outskirts of Amsterdam. The casts are regular visitors, who are simply there to ride, who are there for occupational therapy, or there as a temporary replacement from school. Playing out a fictional, yet custom-fit script that prompts questions of friendship, misfit, normativity, fetishization, and female empowerment. The young girls method-act through stages of agitation, thriving on the artist’s own rural childhood trauma in Sweden, a horsegirl´s obsessions, and her recent short-lived career as a porn film director: teens pulling hair, grand stallions being objectified, food fights, horse healing, and in the backyard of the barn a kissing scene is being made. A red thread through the film: a young girl’s horse is taken away to be slaughtered that the horse community later feast on. A ghost—an EMO teen, white-painted, unfitted, potentially dead—grimes her way through a hardcore song from the London underground “Drop Dead” with the gang of horse girls as her backing choir. Meanwhile, a cowgirl talking about a stallion having its balls cut off, giggling through her characterization of its masculine rage being tamed.

Josefin Arnell (1984) has recently presented exhibitions, screenings, and performances at Athens Biennale; Wiels, Brussels; UKS, Oslo; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Moscow International Biennale for Young Art; Auto Italia, London; Kunsthalle Münster; Beursschouwburg, Brussel. In 2018 she won the Theodora Niemeijer Prijs; a national art prize for emerging female artists living or working in the Netherlands. Arnell lives and works in Amsterdam Through combining modes of autobiographical and fictional storytelling, she explores representations of femininity, the aesthetics and politics of violence, and the way expressions of power and control manifest in group dynamics. The Teenage Girl, The Horse, and The Mother are recurring characters placed beside clumsy allegories of conflicted human conditions or environmental catastrophe. These characters have endless monologues rather than conversations while navigating contemporary infrastructures with impossible demands. She uses humor and absurdity as political devices, but also as important tools to access moments of emotional catharsis. Trashy performativity, camp aesthetics, the grotesque, and soap opera affects are set in combination of documentary, scripted, and improvisation methods. Additionally to her solo work she is involved in multiple collaborations and self initiatives. Most noticeably the artist duo: HellFun aka Josefin Arnell & Max Göran. HellFun prefers to be brave and pathetic rather than drowning in shame.