ESZTER SALAMON BOGLÁRKA BÖRCSÖK
Hungary/France/Germany / 2017 / 120'
The Valeska Gert Monument operates through a collection of performative acts related to the life and work of the German artist Valeska Gert. While rethinking notions of memory and archive, this embodied museum, in empathy with Gert’s own migrating life, uses the entire architecture of a hosting museum. To defeat the blind spots of historical consciousness, this work does more than merely conjure amnesia; powered by the desire to trigger and intensify relations between the past and our current times, it invites spectators to encounter a historicity different from canonical art history. This entails reactivating certain energies from the past in the present and leading the spectators through an empirical-archival venture.
In The Valeska Gert Monument, autobiography replaces art historical discourse, while imagination fills the gaps created by the absence or lack of historical documents. The labour of imagination excavates an archaeological site that re-hallucinates the untraceable, thus giving rise to a practice of speculative history-making, and an emergence of a new territory of friendship and intimacy.
Valeska Gert’s work remains as singular and retains relevancy as much as she also remains a figure of artistic resistance. She was an avant-garde figure who turned her back on modern dance already at its emergence. In the early 1920s, she developed a performance practice by combining theatre, dance, cinema, poetry and singing, a mixture of expressions familiar to Berlin’s cabaret scene of that time. She created a radical performing art by experimenting with gender, race, national identity and aesthetics instead of lurking behind the artistic hegemony in complaisance with Nazi Germany, unlike other famous artistic figures of her time.
Despite her artistic fearlessness, provocative and anarchic performing intensity, the importance of Valeska Gert’s role in art, dance, and performance history has been for long time disregarded. Her love for the burlesque and the grotesque, her preference for the marginal and for creating new representations of the body against the bourgeois aesthetics made her one of the greatest artists of her time. Without her radical experimental endeavour, a whole range of artistic production of the 20th century would have not existed.
Artistic direction: Eszter Salamon
Artistic collaboration: Boglàrka Börcsök
Performance: Boglàrka Börcsök, Eszter Salamon
Lights: Sylvie Garot
Techincal direction: Matteo Bambi
Production, organization: Botschaft Gbr / Alexandra Wellensiek, Studio E.S / Elodie Perrin. Co-production: PACT Zollverein (Essen), City of Women (Ljubljana), Théâtre des Amandiers (Nanterre).
Supported by: Fondation Boghossian-Villa Empain, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, the Regional Directory of Cultural Affairs of Paris – Ministry of Culture and Communication and the NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ (NPN), Coproduction Fund for Dance for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag and Fonds Transfabrik, a german – french Fund for Performing Arts.
Organization: City of Women. In collaboration with MG+MSUM.
Supported by French institute, Balassi Institute.