The Galerie Meyer Riegger, Berlin takes great pleasure in announcing both a new exhibition of works by Ulla von Brandenburg, Feste Erde, Flüssiger Wind, which will be shown over the coming Gallery Weekend, and the concurrent participation of the artist in the group exhibition Der absolute Tanz. Tänzerinnen der Weimarer Republik [Absolute Dance: Women Dancers of the Weimar Republic] in the Georg Kolbe Museum.
Ulla von Brandenburg’s artistic oeuvre is marked by the ongoing re-negotiation of the ontological equator between reality and semblance, play and earnest, event and narrative, this life and the life beyond – two worlds that are as much separated as joined by the threshold realm between them. For Ulla von Brandenburg, it is in the nature of this borderland that it does not simply sever and dissociate the things between which it runs, but for that very reason also merges and affiliates them. The threshold realm is the place where separated things are forever in conflict with one another, where they make reference to one another, and where, in the nexus of their neighbourly relationship, each unfolds its own meaning and sense.
Alongside her large-format watercolours, Ulla von Brandenburg also deploys coloured fabrics and a multiplicity of stage props so as to create ephemeral situations and intricate corridors, in which she shows films that themselves in turn refer to theatrical performances or actual events.
The new film, also entitled Feste Erde, Flüssiger Wind, is a homage to the beginnings of expressive dance as a cultural prism of body, soul and spirit in the 1910s. One centre of this back-to-Nature movement was the artists’ colony of Monte Verità, situated on a hillside overlooking the small town of Ascona in the Canton of Tessin, southern Switzerland. It was there that Rudolf von Laban worked as dance-teacher and theorist, endeavouring to provide a firm theoretical foundation for the rules of movement in expressive dance and to develop a dance notation (“kinetography”) for it.
Ulla von Brandenburg’s interest in dance stems above all from the fact that, as a phenomenon that transcends both eras and cultures, dance opens up new possibilities of intuitive communication and self-experience. It is above all the movements used in early expressive dance which can lead body and spirit into the state of self-renunciation necessary for ecstatic experience and can induce processes of transcendental merging and fusion.
By means of artistic transgressions through the spheres of architecture, vernacular speech, theatre, circus, film and dance, Ulla von Brandenburg modifies every representation into a presentation of what is represented and transforms the setting into one of indeterminacy as to time, space and content. In this artistic system of co-ordinates, every space becomes a theatrical stage, a playing board which encompasses not only figures, objects, patterns, colours and actors but frequently also the audience itself – for the world is a role-play and we are all, whether we so wish or not, part of this game.
In her arrangement of objects, colours and patterns, Ulla von Brandenburg conjures up a constant attitude of expectancy. Yet behind the curtain, at the end of the staircase, or beneath the boards of the stage we find no other world than our own. Unambiguously defined rules of the game are nowhere to be found, and yet our delight in marvelling at things and our curiosity remain unabated. The rule-bound nature of the game remains a metaphor, because precisely through this dialectic of limitation and openness Ulla von Brandenburg marks out her installations as places of betweenness – as transitional scenarios in which beholders can put themselves to the test, both as individuals and as a collective.
translated by Richard Humphrey