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Trulee Hall at LAND
February 16, 2022 - March 27, 2022
In a pop-up gallery on Western, Trulee Hall’s Ladies’ Lair Lake has truly taken over the space. In her signature style, Hall has blended an array of mediums into one interactive installation, which all becomes part of her experimental opera: Set designs, sculptures, videos, props, puppets, and paintings commingle in a maze-like installation that guides the viewer through her narrative.
Each scene takes up a small alcove or room, with an operatic scene looping on a video monitor while related props and backdrops are installed nearby. In each video, actors (almost always nude and in various colored body paint) dramatically sing about lust, love, freedom, fear, childbirth, and desire. Hall mixes in a variety of video techniques that allow her characters to mutate from live-action to claymation to CGI and back again as they chant their lines.
Hall’s story begins in an Edenic forest where women are happily frolicking in the water and dancing about the forest — a kind of free-love feminist paradise. Soon, a trio of goddesses intervenes to grant one of the women with a pregnancy. The child that is born is called BabyMan, and the mother is disgusted by the child’s maleness, setting him out on a river in a basket, only to be discovered by two other women who want the child, and take him in. The plot proceeds with a talking fish and a mystical creature with four heads, and culminates when the mother comes across the “Phallic Forrest,” where she encounters men for the first time. At first she is afraid, but then she brings her friends, and the whole cast gyrate and dance together in the forest, and more babies are born. The final scene is a pleasant ballad about the changing seasons, an ending that muses on the idea of cycles and change — death and birth are all part of the story.
Hall’s narrative is an inventive twist on the creation myth in which women are at the center. In her retelling, we see women completely content before external forces intervene to complicate their lives. Men become an accessory to the story, and the mother’s own autonomy and choice over her own body win out. In the end, the women choose to get curious about their sexuality and willingly procreate, a refreshing twist on the more nefarious historical truths about women’s sexual independence or lack thereof.
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Photo: Trulee Hall, Ladies’ Lair Lake, 2022, courtesy of the artist and LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division). Photo: Davey Clarke.