Live tableaus may seem like a played out and gimmicky art trend, but the performance Afterimage / Anti-Demo from Yvon Chabrowski last Thursday at the Eigen + Art Lab offered a tasteful poignancy to scenes modelled after viral photos of Russian activists at the hands of the police.
The performance took place in a small room, forcing the decently-sized crowd to press against the walls. Plain-clothes performers one by one shimmied out of the crowd into the center and carefully placed and balanced their bodies into position. There was a deliberate use of their bodies as material in space, rather than as models simply striking a pose.
The tension of the performance produced an anxious audience that maintained an understood mandatory silence throughout the different tableaus. The torturously slow pace and long pauses caused interpretations to circle in our heads and it became easy to imagine the strain of being one of the actors, and even more successfully, one of the protestors.
The performance was a complement to the video installations of the current exhibition still (not) moving, yet would not have been as compelling if it were a video. The “duration and momentariness” that the exhibition text describes transferred to the performance as well. Though the scenes were meant to depict specific moments of these Russian demonstrations, they managed to provide a reflection on protest history in general, important no matter the country or the place.
EIGEN + ART LAB
“still (not) moving” – YVON VON CHABROWSKI, DAVID CLAERBOUT, ALBRECHT PISCHEL
Exhibition: Jan. 09 – Feb. 20, 2014
Ehemalige Jüdische Mädchenschule, Auguststraße 11-13 (click here for map)
Blog entry by AJ Kiyoizumi in Berlin; Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.