Scene Shifts

29 sep 20109 jan 2011

This exhibition is a unique collaboration with Dramaten& (Swedish Royal Dramatic Theatre), bringing together leading international artists with Sweden’s best known actors. Over three intense months, the exhibition will continuously provide a space for new works and performances, both at Bonniers Konsthall’s galleries on Torsgatan and on the Royal Dramatic Theatre stages at Nybroplan.

Scene Shifts will discuss the interest for theatre displayed by contemporary artists. The exhibition presents works by 14 artists who work in the interface of performance, theatre, film, sculpture, painting and drawing. The participants come from different parts of the world and all belong to a new generation of internationally renowned artists. In collaboration with Royal Dramatic Theatre actors such as Björn Granath and Johan Rabaeus, the artists will create works especially for the exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall and the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

Ragnar Kjartansson, God, 2007. Photo: Rafael Pinho

In Scene Shifts, mechanical theatre meets musical film, and cutting-edge contemporary art waltzes hand in hand with Shakespeare. Artist Pablo Bronstein, in collaboration with three Royal Dramatic Theatre actors, will produce a performance with a tragic ending borrowed from world drama, while artist Kirstine Roepstorff will use well-known voices in her installation Stille teater (Silent Theatre). As part of the exhibition, artist Ylva Ogland’s version of Ingmar Bergman’s model of the Royal Dramatic Theatre’s main stage will be displayed. For the exhibition, the artist will also produce a giant puppet that will dance on the Royal Dramatic Theatre’s stage. In addition, we will be treated to Ragnar Kjartansson’s vocal pieces à la Frank Sinatra and Gabriela Fridriksdottir’s dreamy dance performance.

Contemporary art’s interest in the theatre may be seen as a reflection of our time, where the guiding principles of culture are visibility and spectacle. However, the participating artists’ experimentation with theatre pertains to opening a door to the possibilities of fiction, where stage art can allow space to play around with identities and roles, exploring the unique presence of physical bodies, words, gestures and movements.

The collaboration between Bonniers Konsthall and Dramaten& began in autumn 2009 with the artist Aurélien Froment’s well-received performance Le chiffre à la lettre (Code Countdown), in which the actor Johan Holmberg played the performance’s only role.

Scene Shifts Throughout History, 19 October

Art and theatre share a long connected history, full of a border-crossing desire for experimentation. In the seminar Scene Shifts Throughout History, we move from Wagner’s thoughts on the total work of art to early Modernism’s form experimentation and on to the Fluxus movement’s concept of art, with happenings and performances. Seminar participants touch upon various interesting cross-fertilizations which took place in the 20th century and discuss differing conditions and obstacles to creative collaboration between art and theatre.

The evening continues with a performance of Åke Hodell’s Igevär. Magnus Haglund, who wrote a book on Åke Hodell, has gathered poets and artists from a younger generation who have created their own live version of this sound art classic, which was first performed on 18 November 1963.

Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk (moderator) is an artist, curator, theoretician and writer, and works in the fields of visual arts and theatre.
Magnus Florin is a writer, director and Head of Dramaturgy at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm.
Magdalena Holdar is an art historian who works at Stockholm University, Södertörn University and University College of Arts, Crafts & Design.
Bengt af Klintberg is an ethnologist, author and artist, and was active within the avant-garde Swedish Fluxus scene in the 1960s.
Magnus Haglund is a critic and author, having written extensively on art music and sound art.

Pablo Bronsteins performance, Berömda dödsfall ur den Europeiska litteraturen, 2010. |Dramaten

Seminar: Contemporary Scene Shifts, 27 November

Why do contemporary dramatists wish to inhabit the art space? What experiences do artists gain from the theatre? The seminar’s invited participants all move between visual art and theatre. They reflect on how the institutions of the two fields function today and discuss obstacles and possibilities for collaborations across boundaries.

During the evening Keren Cytter and Andrew Kerton’s performance Pokerface, named after Lady Gaga’s mega-hit, will be performed. The work depicts the story of an entertainer who is killed by her alter ego.

Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk (moderator) is an artist, curator, theoretician and writer.
Sara Arrhenius is Director of Bonniers Konsthall.
Heiner Goebbels is a composer, artist and director, living in Frankfurt, Germany.
Sofi Lerström is a producer at Dramaten&, the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theatre’s new venue for experimental theatre and music.
Mellika Melani is a Swedish film director who has received much acclaim for her productions, including Rigoletto – djurisk åtrå (Uppsala City Theatre, 2008) and Ulrike Maria Stuart by Elfriede Jelinek (Teater Tribunalen, Spring 2009).
Helena Seth is responsible for side programming at Dramaten&.
Markus Schinwald is an artist living in Vienna, Austria, and Los Angeles, USA, and is one of the artists in the group exhibition Scene Shifts at Bonniers Konsthall.