Marianna Simnett's The Bird Game (2019) will screen as part of CREATURE, the artist's first New Zealand solo exhibition and her largest solo show to date. The exhibition was initially presented in 2020 at Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art (IMA), and takes stock of six years of video and sculpture works and their dark themes of metamorphosis and mythology.
The Bird Game is a wicked fairy tale in which a loquacious and bloodthirsty crow, voiced by Joanne Whalley, lures six children to a secluded mansion and snares them in a sequence of deranged games. It mixes dismembered parts of Sleeping Beauty and Ovid’s Metamorphoses into a sinister witch’s brew. The Bird Game was commissioned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Evelina Children’s Hospital for Sick Children, named after the wife of Ferdinand de Rothschild who also created Waddesdon Manor, and comes at a time when the mental health of the young has become a matter of growing attention and concern.
The Bird Game (2019) by Marianna Simnett was produced by Film and Video Umbrella (Producer Sophie Neave) and co-commissioned by the Rothschild Foundation, Frans Hals Museum, and Film and Video Umbrella. FVU is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.