Tate Modern Talk

On Stage/Off Stage: Performance and the Theatrical

Rodney Graham, ‘Fishing on a Jetty’ 2000
Rodney Graham, Fishing on a Jetty 2000. Tate. © Rodney Graham, courtesy Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Taking inspiration from the BMW Tate Live: Paulina Olowska The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue, join artists, curators, theatre directors and writers for a discussion exploring the relationship between art and theatre.

The panel examines the dualities of the stage and the gallery as sites of narrative, looking at the shared methodologies of theatre making and the artists practice as performance, beyond the traditional conventions of the stage and studio.

This event touches on questions including:
What is the relationship between art and theatre in relation to liveness, the audience and the site of the theatre/museum?
What role does performance and live art play in increasingly blurring the boundaries between art and theatre?
How do the discourses coming out of theatre, performance studies, art history, and related disciplines differently frame and understand these art practices?
To what extent can the artist be considered a dramaturge/actor or director?

The event is chaired by Rebecca Schneider and speakers include artist Paulina Olowska, author and theorist Michal Kobialka and Thomas Oberender, Director of Berliner Festspiele.

Watch a recording of the panel below:



Michal Kobialka

Michal Kobialka is a Professor of Theatre in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota.  He is the author of A Journey Through Other Spaces: Essays and Manifestos, 1944-1990 (University of California Press, 1993); Further on, Nothing: Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre (University of Minnesota Press, 2009); and This Is My Body: Representational Practices in the Early Middle Ages (University of Michigan Press, 1999); the editor of Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice, and Theory (University of Minnesota Press, 1999); a co-editor (with Barbara Hanawalt) of Medieval Practices of Space (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and (with Rosemarie Bank) of Theatre/Performance Historiography: Time , Space, Matter.

Thomas Oberender

Dr. Thomas Oberender was appointed managing director of the Berliner Festspiele in 2012. From 2006 to 2011, he was theatre director at the Salzburg Festival. From 2005 to 2006, he was head dramaturg and co-director of the Schauspielhaus Zürich and, from 2000 to 2005, head dramaturge and member of the artistic direction at the Schauspielhaus Bochum under Matthias Hartmann. He has published numerous books, including Leben auf Probe. Wie die Bühne zur Welt wird (Life is a Rehearsal: How the Stage Becomes a World; 2009), and Das schöne Fräulein Unbekannt. Gespräche über Theater, Kunst und Lebenszeit (The Lovely Miss Unknown: Discussions of Theater, Art, and Life; 2011), „Nebeneingang oder Haupteingang? - Gespräche über 50 Jahre Schreiben fürs Theater“ (2014).

Paulina Olowska

Working in painting, performance, installation and curating, Paulina Olowska’s work often focuses on forgotten figures of feminism, minor histories, and popular aesthetics, quoting period fashion photography, agitprop posters, graffiti, periodicals, and signage. She recently had solo projects and exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Basel and Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw (2014) and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013). She lives in Krakow, Poland.

Rebecca Schneider

Rebecca Schneider, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University, is author of The Explicit Body in Performance (1997), Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (2011), Theatre And History (2014) and editor of journal issues and anthologies on art, theatre, and everyday life.

This event has been co-curated with artist, actor and writer Kate Tiernan.

The event is part of the series BMW Tate Live 2015: Staging Situations: Art and Theatre

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

31 October 2015 at 14.00–16.00

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