stand-alones ( polyphony )

threatening colours, dripping silence.

Notes on Stand-Alones ( polyphony ) 
Stefan Grissemann

The bodies are finished. They cower, tremble, stand alone and only for themselves, they dislocate and bend, tilt dangerously out of balance, abruptly sink into themselves. Yet still, the states of exhaustion last. For how many hours, days, weeks have they all been here? The loneliness of the nude model who needs to stay in its assigned poses is tangible, while their tormented persistence sets something in motion. They all serve as objects of voyeurism and thrill, but they also are subjects. The drilled and adjusted wreak something of their own.

The visionary border violations of Egon Schiele are not to be reconstructed or re-enacted. They remain untranslatable, a foreign tongue no longer linguistically accessible. Thus, in Stand-Alones nothing is imitated, rather thought ahead through dissociation and subtle role-playing. The faraway orchestral dance-music playing in an imaginary ballroom is not a conjuring of times past, but the acoustic representation of a remote staging that has fallen out of time.

The performers, oscillating between agitation and melancholia, are autonomous and isolated. Yet they are surrounded by a twofold soundtrack, by drones and musical fragments, but also by noises, rudiments of speech acts, and weird monologues; they are in constant dialogue with themselves. Their state is schizophrenic, solipsistic at the same time: They are alone with their schism. They represent something we could call bipolaroids: duplicate instant photos; mood swinging overlays of themselves.

In the empty rooms of the museum they find themselves, largely liberated from anything ornamental, get sculptural body work done. The figures breathe exhausted, introspective and withdrawn, only to regain their composure, with expressive gestures and twitched faces. Their sporadic nakedness is – just as in Schiele’s genital research – hardly erotic. The undress/redress-movements of these defenseless creatures seem more akin to insects, as if they waited to creep into the corners of the rooms which they besiege, beat against the walls or disappear into them. They are insular, single and unique, but they are also dividuals, as defined by the philosopher and Schiele-contemporary Fritz Mauthner, who coined the phrase of the „Doppel-Ich“, a double consciousness generating parallel awarenesses. Inexplicable things are demonstrated and acted out, lingual mannerisms are being pleasurably dissected.

Like in slow motion the androids float through their dream of the beauty of machines, of divested pain of the soul and their comic, sometimes also cosmic overdrive. You can only get close to mania if you possess an ego, if you consider „psyche“ and „reality“ to exist. „Give me the threatening colours of the north, the dripping silence of the snowless night“ goes a part in Hildegard Knef’s „Ostseelied“, one of the most surprising among this evening’s many quotes – and further down: „Give me the timid lights of the morning.“ The hatred towards the sun is boundless.

Tranquility intrudes, the morning hesitantly comes. In the rotating, mutually mirroring human sculptures another relationship is established between pre-image and image, model and painting. With a mixture of ennui and hypertension they react to the impositions of an incomprehensible, collapsing world. In Stand-Alones suffering and curiosity for the remaining reserves of strength – that can only be activated under extreme conditions – are kept in a precarious balance. A recurring, strangely passionless scream serves as an acoustic insignia of powerlessness for those who cannot be surprised anymore by the injustices that happen to them. They bang their heads against the wall, try gravity-defying corner climbs. Boosts of energy flash through their bodies, until fatigue sets in. In a final congregation the resistance of the discarded and the intensity of their desperate self-conquest is evoked one last time: the fury and the misery, collectively disjoined.

Translation: Oliver Stummer