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The Wilson twins

The South Bank Show brings together the visual artists THE WILSON TWINS and Britpop star Justine Frischmann.

Jane and Louise Wilson make film and video installations exploring the architecture of what are often, literally, sites of power – Stasi City, Parliament, and Greenham Common.

Frischmann, a close friend of the twins, trained as an architect before forming the band Elastica in the nineties and is the audience’s guide through the twins’ work in this programme.

Born in Newcastle in 1967, Jane and Louise’s work grew out of the secretive world of childhood games and stories.

The relationship between twins is inevitably mysterious and it is a trademark in their work to play on the idea of two points of view - a divided consciousness but a unified vision, often represented by two screens showing subtly different angles of the same site.

The twins trained at separate art colleges as undergraduates but presented identical degree shows simultaneously – images of one hanging while the other drowns.

They moved to London in 1990 to do a joint MA at Goldsmiths and began making videos developing their interest in the secret histories of spaces and places.

Early works like Normapaths (1995), their first film, are playful investigations of the language of horror films, music video and advertising or explorations of altered states of consciousness.

The twins filmed themselves dropping acid and getting hypnotised. Their later works bring together both of these elements.

Jane and Louise Wilson won the Barclays Young Artist Award in 1993 for their installation at The Serpentine Gallery and then won a two year scholarship to Berlin in 1996.

This was a turning point in their work.

They were fascinated with the political and historical aspects of the Cold War which were powerfully written into Berlin’s architecture and they produced Stasi City, a haunting two screen film installation traversing the interior of the former headquarters of the East German secret police.

This South Bank Show was made over the course of a year while the twins developed and shot a major new work commissioned by the Baltic Centre for the Contemporary Arts in Gateshead, Newcastle.

This installation comprises thirteen screens based on the planes of Victor Pasmore’s Pavilion in Peterlee, a utopian architectural folly of the seventies which has now fallen into disrepair.

Entitled A Free and Anonymous Monument the installation has been widely acclaimed.

The work powerfully suggests Tyneside’s industrial past, the faded dreams of the seventies (when the Twins were growing up there) and an eerily unpeopled future for the region.

We are proud to give A Free and Anonymous Monument its television premiere along with extracts from many of the twins other works, also broadcast here for the first time.

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