Autumn/Winter 2012

– Autumn/Winter 2012

Contextual Essays

Artists

Events, Works, Exhibitions

Repetition and Change: The Film Installations of Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz

Gregg Bordowitz

Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Charming for the Revolution, 2009, 16mm transferred to DVD film installation, colour, sound, 12min, still. Still photography: Andrea Thal, performance: Werner Hirsch, camera: Bernadette Paassen. Presented with 6 framed photographs. Courtesy the artists and Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam

It was the days of ghosts. Still is. Not the death, but the actual forgetting, even the death of sexuality and wonderment, of all but those who control and those and that which can be controlled. Since an emotion’s an announcement of values, in this society of the death (of values) emotions moved like zombies through humans.

— Kathy Acker 1

The composition of the image is carefully staged. The subject stands in front of a wall-size landscape painting. A tall handsome woman, dressed in a work shirt and apron, rolls up her sleeve to reveal the bicep of her tensed muscular arm. She looks directly into the camera, proud of her physique. Visible in the lower part of the frame, some bananas and other fruit are arranged on a tabletop. A potted palm occupies the corner of the foreground. This is one of a number of tableaux vivants that comprise the film loop Normal Work (2007), part of an installation by the collaborative artists Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, and featuring the performer Werner Hirsch.

Hirsch reappears in a number of film loops by Boudry and Lorenz. In N.O. Body (2008) Hirsch plays a bearded lady who addresses the empty seats of a medical theatre. It’s not clear if she is the subject of an examination. No one is present to examine her. Alone in the hall, she makes a private presentation,

Footnotes
  1. Kathy Acker, My Mother: Demonology, New York: Grove Press, 1994, p.14.

  2. Temporal Drag: Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2011, p.1943.

  3. ‘Stages: A Conversation Between Andrea Thal, Pauline Boudry, and Renate Lorenz’, Berlin, September 2010, available at http://www.boudry-lorenz.de/texts/ (last accessed on 9 May 2012).

  4. Ibid.

  5. The tactic of ‘hiding in the light’ was developed out of a history in which the ‘lower classes’ were particularly vulnerable to the conjunction of law enforcement and modern photography in the early and middle parts of the twentieth century. Scholars such as Dick Hebdige and John Tagg made significant contributions to the theorisation of the emergence of subcultures as a response to the vigilant eye of the spectacle and the history of the camera as a sociological tool in the hands of the law. See D. Hebdige, Hiding in the Light: On Images and Things, New York and London: Routledge, 1989; and J. Tagg, Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

  6. Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, ‘Laughing about N.O. Body’, available at http://www.boudry-lorenz.de/texts/ (last accessed on 9 May 2012).

  7. See P. Boudry and R. Lorenz, ‘Normal Work’, available at http://www.boudry-lorenz.de/normal-work/ (last accessed on 9 May 2012).

  8. Temporal Drag: Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, op. cit., p.1960

  9. R. Lorenz, ‘Interview with Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz by Antke Engel on Normal Work ’, available at http://www.boudry-lorenz.de/texts/ (last accessed on 9 May 2012).

  10. Temporal Drag: Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, op. cit., p.1908.

  11. Yvonne Rainer et al., The Films of Yvonne Rainer, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989, p.76.

  12. See Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York and London: Routledge, 2006; and J. Butler, Undoing Gender, New York and London: Routledge, 2004.

  13. See P. Boudry and R. Lorenz, ‘Contagious!’, available at http://www.boudry-lorenz.de/contagious/ (last accessed on 9 May 2012).

  14. K. Acker, Bodies of Work, London: Serpent’s Tail, 1997, pp.91—92.

  15. Ibid.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Ibid.

  18. Ibid.

  19. P. Boudry and R. Lorenz, ‘No Future/No Past’, available at http://www.boudry-lorenz.de/no-future-no-past/ (last accessed on 9 May 2012).