Was Wäre Wenn

David Lamelas, Rock Star (character appropriation), 1974

David Lamelas, Rock Star (character appropriation), 1974

Hayley Newman, Connotations - Performance Images, 1994-1998: Crying Glasses (An Aid to Melancholia), 1998

Hayley Newman, Connotations - Performance Images, 1994-1998: Crying Glasses (An Aid to Melancholia), 1998

Yorgos Sapuntzis, Yeti Lines, 2005

Yorgos Sapuntzis, Yeti Lines, 2005

Simon Dybbroe Møller, Performance, 2006

Simon Dybbroe Møller, Performance, 2006

Was Wäre Wenn # 6

Exhibition 14.09. - 21.10.2006

 

Für die Ewigkeit

David Lamelas, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Hayley Newman, Mandla Reuter/Alexander Wolff, Yorgos Sapountzis, Pernille Kapper Williams, Danh Vo

Curated by Henrikke Nielsen

 

How is it possible to document the here-and-now-quality of a live performance? According to the theoretician Peggy Phelan it is not. A performance becomes itself through disappearance and the documentation is only a spur to memory. ‘Für die Ewigkeit’ (‘For Eternity’) questions this hierarchical structure in which the document is subordinate to the live performance or event. The works elaborate somewhere between presenting and representing, between presence and mediation, between repetition and the unique moment.

 

Simon Dybbroe Møller playfully subverts the nostalgic connotations of the slide projection and addresses the fact that his own generation is familiar with early performances through art historical representation, only. A subject that is also crucial in Hayley Newman’s images that appear to be a visual record of the artist’s performance works, but are in fact documents of performances that existed only for the photo session. A similar uneasiness as to whether the artist actually did perform any action is present in David Lamelas’ photo from 1974 depicting the artist as a rock star performing on stage. The photo demonstrates how the mode of representation determines our evaluation and perception of identity.

 

Becoming a subject is a relational matter that takes two or more. Every performance needs an audience, and if nobody is there to watch, video offers a perfect solution. Yorgos Sapountzis has had a web camera on a historical building in Berlin record his lonely performance at night, and downloaded the images afterwards. A work that involves an at once exclusive and exploded audience, since everybody with Internet access could potentially watch. Pernille Kapper Williams also deals with the (in-) accessibility of her audience. Presenting an audiotape containing a reading from a Danish-German dictionary, she short circuits the performative aspect of language, since the audio piece is only visually accessible. The project presented by Mandla Reuter and Alexander Wolff is subversive in a different way, displaying the beginning of an event that took place last year and was ‘performed’ by a wide number of people that received an invitation and the key to an apartment in Warsaw. No documentation of the project exists as such, except from the stories circulating in (mainly) the art world. Danh Vo’s work is the result of several performative actions to which no audience was invited in the first place: certificates of marriage or official charges of theft are framed and exhibited as self portraits. They represent a straightforward testimony with a high degree of ‘authencity’ in comparison to the unreliability of photography proven in the works by Newman and Lamelas.

 

The objects on view – be that video, slides, official documents, an audio tape or a key – may last for eternity, but nonetheless they possess what can be described as performative qualities.

 

“Für die Ewigkeit” is the last exhibition in a series of six under the title ‘Was wäre wenn’ (What If). At the end of the exhibition a comprehensive publication about the whole project will be published.

 

 

 

Exhibition views WAS WÄRE WENN #6