Untitled Document
Carslaw St. Luke's
MELANIE MANCHOT - LEAP after The Great Ecstasy

20 April - 1st June 2013


Exhibition Review by Photomonitor, May edition


CARSLAW St* Lukes is pleased to announce an exhibition project with Melanie Manchot: Leap after The Great Ecstasy, a multi channel video work presented in an installation specifically designed for the gallery. Inspired by Werner Herzog’s film ‘The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner’ (1974), the work observes a range of physical and psychological situations in the quest for a brief moment of perfection.

Set on the world’s largest natural ski jump, the video charts the intense preparations for an annual world cup, both in terms of the materiality of the site and the individuals involved. The piece tracks in great detail those elements that contribute to the construction of a large-scale event as well as the obsessive focus required to perform at the edge of what is possible, to attain ten seconds of human flight and to briefly defy gravitational pull.

Explored in the work is the tension between nature and a human desire for control. Arguably many of the processes and gestures observed across the work’s distinct sequences contribute to the endeavor to shape and sculpt a section of nature for a specific human activity, to make it perfect, even just for a moment.

For the presentation of Leap after The Great Ecstasy at CARSLAW St* Lukes, Manchot has devised an installation that takes over the gallery, its yard and playhouse and transforms these into a continuous choreography. A small group of night time photographs opens the show and sets the stage: each of the images is a portrait of the location, of its dense physicality and what it might stand for in terms of danger and desire. Further staging devices such as a provisional seating structure and an outside wooden room reflect the material nature of these temporary events while providing custom made environments for the work. 

The opening of the show will coincide with the launch of Manchot’s new book 100’ – produced in the same village, Engelberg.

Melanie Manchot is a filmmaker and photographer whose work has been shown nationally and internationally including at The Whitechapel Gallery, London; MacVal, Musee d’Art Contemporaine, Paris; The Photographers Gallery, London; Galerie m, Bochum, Germany; The Institute of Contemporaray Arts, London; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Australian Museum of Photography, Sydney;  The Courtauld Institute, London;  Museum Folkwang, Essen and as part of Nuit Blanche, Paris.  She is the recipient of many awards including the Oriel Davies Award 2012 and the Great North Run Moving Image Commission 2013.


Leap after the Great Ecstasy is being screened as part of Videonale 14, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany until 7 April. Her work can be seen as part of Walk on at Pitzhanger Manor Gallery, London between 27 March - 5 May 2013 touring to Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, Mac Birmingham and further venues in 2014.


With special thanks to Bowers & Wilkins the generous providers of the sound equipment for this exhibition.




The work will be on show continually during gallery hours on Friday and Saturday and on request on Thursday.