Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano studied drawing separately at the Victorian College of the Arts, only later did they come together to collaborate on the videos for which they are now well-known. Drawing remains integral to the twins’ work and it often features in their videos, such as if…so…then. The moving image allows them to imply the drawn line in different ways too, effectively drawing with their bodies or with props such as fabric, chairs or window shutters.
Face to face in this video, the artist draw around each other in what appear to be carefully choreographed movements, sometimes alternating, sometimes in synchrony. The artists wrote of this work in 2007:
if…so…then was influenced by our childhood experiences. At an early age we invented our own language, understood only by each other. This dialogue and its characteristics are echoed in this piece. The performance recaptures an essence from our past by creating a new dialogue, which is intimate and insular. The repetitive element mimics the repetition one uses to learn a new language. The intimacy of the space encapsulates the intensity between the two characters, introducing a language that is controlled, calculated, and yet demonstrating moments of tenderness and humour. We are interested in the loss and disintegration of language, and how it can be replaced by other forms of communication.