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Theatrical Fields - Critical Strategies in Performance, Film and Video Judith Barry, Stan Douglas, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf, Constanze Ruhm

5th Aug, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore will present Theatrical Fields which introduces theatricality as a critical strategy in performance, film and video. The exhibition is scheduled to coincide with the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA).

The video installations by the following key artists in Theatrical Fields will be shown for the first time in Southeast Asia: Voice off (1999) by Judith Barry, USA; Suspiria (2003) by Stan Douglas, Canada; Lines in the Sand (2002) by Joan Jonas, USA), Vagabondia (200) by Isaac Julien, UK; She Might Belong to You (2007/2013) by Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf, Germany / Israel; X Characters Re(hers)AL (2003/4) by Constanze Ruhm, Austria.

The Exhibition: Theatrical Fields – Critical Strategies in Performance, Film and Video

In this exhibition, theatricality is not conceived strictly as a phenomenon in theatre, rather, it points to the ‘constructedness’ of everyday life. Theatrical forms make visible how our realities are staged and also how our histories are constructed and performed. The artists in this exhibition make use of various theatrical elements - from “character” to “voice”, “script”, “choreography” and “ritual” - to question and re-vision society’s existing scripts and histories. Theatricality also refers to the meeting point between theoretical reflection and theatrical spectatorship through their common etymology. The concepts “theatre” and “theory” share etymological roots: both are derived from the Greek word “thea”, which means “to see”. Theatrical Fields evokes this deep-rooted connection between theatre and theory; in this conception, theory suggests an act of contemplation of something that unfolds in front of our eyes. Moreover, in order to see something clearly, one needs to take a step back and contemplate it at a distance, like a spectator watching a play in the theatre.

Theatrical Fields, curated by Ute Meta Bauer with Anca Rujoiu, was first presented and commissioned by Bildmuseet, Umea in Sweden (2013). At Bildmuseet it included the installation Sister Squares by Marcel Dzama (Canada), and featured films by Marie Louise Ekman (Sweden) and Ulrike Ottinger (Germany), along with posters and artist books. Reanimation, a live performance of Joan Jonas with jazz pianist Jason Moran (USA), was presented at the Umea Jazz Festival.

Ute Meta Bauer, CCA Founding Director mentioned about Theatrical Fields: “It will be exciting to see how the use of fairy-tales, masks and rituals, ghosts and specters of the past in works produced in Europe and North America will resonate in the context of Southeast Asian's strong tradition of storytelling.”

A catalogue including keynotes from the symposium and commissioned essays will be co-published by Bildmuseet Umea and CCA in 2015.

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