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Ulla von Brandenburg A Living Picture

A disconcerting exploration of the domestic through the theatrical medium of the tableau vivant, or 'living picture'

Ulla von Brandenburg is interested in the idea of the tableau vivant, or ‘living picture’. Popular in the nineteenth century, the tableau vivant was a combination of fine art and theatre, with live models carefully posed and lit in a composition like that of a painting or photograph. In this performance, a group of actors present a tableau vivant, while miming a song sung in German by the artist herself, to disconcerting effect.

Transcription

The performance is music based and it’s a musical tableau vivant, so you will see like a domestic scene, five people, they are all from one family, on a stage, and there is somebody lying on a sofa, the old man, he is the father, his wife beside him, his daughter is in the space, his sister and his best friend. There will be music, Laurent Montaron and me, we did music together and I was singing all the voices of all the five characters. I don’t want to be on stage but this is for me a possibility to be on stage, it’s my voice on stage and the actors have to mime it so there is also this artificial aspect or this like absurd aspect also like a man has to mouth a woman’s voice, they are all about one narration but it could be that these five characters are also like different sides of yourself.

It is about what kind of relationship all the four persons have with this dead or ill or whatever person laying on the sofa, so it’s not really clear what it is about, he is dead and somehow they sing about perhaps he is poisoned perhaps, somebody wanted to inherit something, but these are only slight informations, never will something come out into the truth.

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Artist
Art Term

Tableau

Tableau is used to describe a painting or photograph in which characters are arranged for picturesque or dramatic effect and ...

Art Term

Performance art

Artworks that are created through actions performed by the artist or other participants, which may be live or recorded, spontaneous ...