MERCEDES HELNWEIN’S second show at the Molesworth, Whistling Past the Graveyard, follows on seamlessly from the work in her first. Her vividly evoked imaginative world is distinctly cinematic: dramatically charged and lit, infused with tension and mystery. And, in fact, several works are titled Film Still and have the appearance of single frames excerpted from a sequence. Workaday objects, such as toy plastic models of animals, are used in a slightly sinister way.
There is a sense of protagonists engrossed in their own disturbed, hallucinatory worlds. The protagonists are usually young women, and they are alternatively strong, self-contained, in control, and possible victims. While there is a theatrical air to it all, a sense of make-believe, Helnwein maintains a genuine edginess as well, so that we can’t be quite sure that everything will be okay. It is stylish noir, delivered with considerable bravura.
Aidan Dunne, April 1, 2009