The Final Girl

In recent years, Natascha Niederstrass has used installation, video and photography to question our links with both fiction and reality. In fact, her works are presented as stagings that play on the ambiguity of the cultural codes that surround us. Familiar at first glance, they gradually reveal their secret, often dark side, and turn into real enigmas to be solved.

For her exhibition at Plein sud, Natascha Niederstrass has chosen to focus on the Final Girl, this key character in a specific type of American horror film genre from the seventies and eighties. Initially self-effacing, this young girl refuses her condition as a victim and decides to fight for survival. She takes control of the action and in most cases succeeds in defeating the killer. Natascha Niederstrass presents seven large-format photographs from as many films. For each portrait, the moment that the artist has favoured is the moment when the status of the Final Girl changes. In this moment of tension, the roles are reversed and the assaulted girl is transformed into a heroine. By isolating each of these images from their context and placing them in relation to each other in the exhibition room, the artist highlights their archetypal value and allows the visitor to read them in a variety of ways.

Natascha Niederstrass’s work can be approached from several angles: as a sociological study of certain clichés of American cinema, as a visual commentary on the effectiveness of the sense of identification generated by the seventh art, or as a feminist look at the balance of power. But above all, the artist’s aim is to propose works that arouse the desire for narration. From the expressions of these women’s faces and the clues that surround them, the visitor is invited to mentally reconstruct past or future actions. What happened before this scene ? What might happen afterwards ? Faced with these characters at the junction of two universes, the spectator finds himself engaged in a story, stories to be invented.

— Sylvie Pelletier

This body of work was presented in 2006 at Plein sud – centre d’exposition en art actuel in Longueuil. Natascha Niederstrass is named winner of the Plein sud grant for the year 2005.

Photo credit : Guy L’Heureux

Jess, Lambda print, 30” x 70” (2006)
Ginny, Lambda print, 30” x 70” (2006)
Alice, Lambda print, 30” x 70” (2006)
Jennifer, Lambda print, 30” x 70” (2006)