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Paysage de l’âme, 2013

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Paysage de l’âme (Soulscape)
Performance for 9 tattooed women and men
Shown at opening day of Festival International d’Art de Toulouse, 2013


Furthering Rosefeldt’s long-term interest in the notion of the sublime, the performance Paysage de l'âme (2013) uses – as in The Ship of Fools (2007) and My home is a dark and cloud-hung land (2011) – the solitary figure’s contemplation to test the boundaries of our encounters. Nine heavily-tattooed individuals are positioned in isolation across seven exhibition venues, both inside and outside, for the opening day of the Festival International d’Art de Toulouse, 2013. The photographs document a one-off performance during which the figures gaze at length into the distance, out of a window or upon onlookers below. With reference to Caspar David Friedrich and Romantic landscape paintings, Rosefeldt modernises his figures in a display of contemporary paralysation. Here, the speculative awe lies with immersion into the present: today’s surroundings of expansive possibilities, overwhelming impact and disturbingly othering situations. As the visitors strive to guess what has captured the performers’ intrigue, the figures become observed subjects of observation. Rosefeldt pushes the idea of self-transcendence further and each tattooed body transforms into a living painting. A number of the living canvases are surrounded by works of painters throughout art history, engulfing the spectator into a game of multiple dimensions and subliminal sensations. The illusion becomes reality, the body a painting, and vice versa. 

The photographic documentation creates an additional dimension in capturing the theatricality; the Rückenfigur (figure depicted from behind) directly references David Friedrich’s landscape wanderers. In parallel with Rosefeldt’s four-channel film installation, My home is a dark and cloud-hung land (2011) – also shown at the festival and addressing the ever problematic dealing with German national identity – the performance echoes similar sentiments of melancholic mystery and subtle symbolism. The aesthetic correlation plays upon our familiarities whilst the contemporary re-visioning draws us closer as we succumb to absorption amongst the multiple pictorial layers. 


E. Lapper

Other Works / Paysage de l’âme, 2013