Press Releases

New video exhibition opens at MERL this winter – University of Reading

Release Date : 16 December 2009

a still from the video exhibition

Ballet, a unique and fascinating free exhibition by Szuper Gallery will be on show this winter at the University of Reading's Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

Szuper Gallery's new video performance and installation engages with recent histories of rural filmmaking, with movement and dance, linking everyday farming movements with the aesthetics of dance.  Starting point for this new work is a series of archival films from the collection of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), which provide warnings of contagion and nuclear catastrophe, describing procedure and instruction in the case of emergency.

These films present a unique vision of rural labour and collective staged action, where extras, background actors, are performing ‘normality' prior to potential disruption of an imminent crisis. Szuper Gallery's video deconstructs the movements of extras in these rural propaganda films. It features a large cast of dancers and non-dancers in a spectacular rural setting performing a new choreography to a dramatic sound score. The installation also showcases a series of original propaganda films.

Szuper Gallery is a collaboration by artists Susanne Clausen (Reader in Fine Art at the University of Reading) and Pavlo Kerestey. For this project they have collaborated with Canadian actor and director Michele Sereda.

Ballet runs from 19 December, 2009 to 28 February, 2010. For further information, please contact Alison Hilton, marketing officer, on 0118 378 8660.

Visit for more details on Szuper Gallery


MERL is designated as an archive of national importance and records the history of English ruralism over the last 200 years, comprising artefacts, books, archives, photographs, film and sound recordings. It has pioneered innovative ethnographic methodologies for social history. The informational films in this collection originate from different 20th century sources (e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, ICI, or Film Ford Unit) using documentary as propaganda, cultural history and cultural geography. They were made for dissemination of ‘best practice' for local distribution to farmers' organisations, providing a unique record of rural labour, technology and social organisation.


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