Double Indemnity Install 1. Photo credit: WeAreTape

Double Indemnity


Inspired by Billy Wilder’s classic film noir of the same name, Double Indemnity explores questions of desire, possession and complicity through new and recent work by a selection of high profile artists, including Sophie Calle, Jenny Holzer, Ming Wong, Anicka Yi and Frances Stark.

Billy Wilder’s film tells the story of insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray); a man ruined by his desire for money, a married woman (Phyllis Dietrichson, played by Barbara Stanwyck), and the approval of his co-worker Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson). Curated with Neff in mind as its ideal fictional audience, the exhibition includes work that exposes and subverts the distance between those who desire and are desired.

Two new commissions contribute to the exhibition’s immersive, psychoanalytic experience. With reference to Roman Polanski’s 1974 film Chinatown and the stereotypical role of the Chinese detective, Ming Wong’s definitive edit of his new video work After Chinatown features the artist adopting male and female guises as he explores Chinatowns across the world. The piece is screened on a custom-built ‘orientalised’ TV set. For the exhibition’s second new commission, Anicka Yi has developed a unique fragrance that evokes the essence of Barbara Stanwyck’s character in Double Indemnity. Yi explains, “Phyllis is like a hologram, a delirious image. People project their desire on to her and she gives off varying intensities.”

The exhibition also features work by Laurel Nakadate, Hito Steyerl, Emily Jacir, Sharif Waked, Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski.

Double Indemnity is accompanied by My Noir, a comprehensive season of film noir launched by a 24-hour noir-athon, with films selected by artists and filmmakers including Terence Davies (director, The Deep Blue Sea; Distant Voices, Still Lives), Ivy Ho (director, Claustrophobia) and musicians Everything Everything.

Exhibition sponsored by:


Galleries 1, 2 & 3

Sat 14 Sep 2013 – Sun 5 Jan 2014

Mon - Closed, Tue - Sat 12:00 - 20:00, Sun 12:00 - 18:00


Artists: Andrea Fraser, Anicka Yi, Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski, Emily Jacir, Frances Stark, Hito Steyerl, Jenny Holzer, Laurel Nakadate, Ming Wong, Sharif Waked, Sophie Calle

Curators: Michael Connor

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Visiting the University of Manchester this week from Melbourne, I happened upon the Double Indemnity exhibition – much to my delight. Wilder’s desperate passion rings through. An exhilarating discovery.
Thanks Corner House.

Tony Cooper  

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