Masculinity is often been expressed or even celebrated in moments of performances. Thus not consistent role models were shown in the very moment of a presentation, but rather particular fragments. They have to be constantly reconfigured during the act oft perfomance and therefore appear fragile in their definition. Also the conditions of execution and/or recording the event do play an important role within the theatrical gestures of dancing, playing, masking or the pretended „everyday life“. The exhibition „Palace“ aims to open up a theatrical field showing contemporary artists working with different media like action, film, painting, photography or installation.
Historic references such as Ulrike Ottingers works from the 70s or an 80s documentary record of a Laibach appearance in Yugoslav-TV setting some roots of the development of theatrical concepts in dealing with masculinity through the past 30 years. In doing so, no linear genealogy is to be established leading to contemporary artistic projects, but nevertheless we want to mention some anchor points for a present-day discussion in this field. Many of 70s and 80s perspectives on masculinity and theatricality centred their focus on examining the physical conditions of the body – often by all means also in a biological sense of dealing with the authors own corpus.
Considering the discourse on feminism- and genderstudies, this point of view has been changed very much during the past 30 years. Now the question how physical and sexual identity are performed and contructed is put on stage in a much more playful and diverse manner. How do dramaturgies of acting male identities look today? The group exhibition with international as well as local contemporary artists shows different artistic representations dealing with this topic. We meet a very split identity in Jimmy Roberts work that can hardly be allocated to any sexual category. In the common linearity of mass-media-stories Torbjørn Rødland encounters the cracks by means of collages and photography. Obviously, the role revearsal between object and subject belongs to a playful occupation with theatrical dramaturgy on the stage of representation.
The male models of Zurich-based artist Nicole Bachmann appear to look from both perspectives: A group of nude men poses thoughtfully in front of the camera and waits for instructions from the director. On the first glance, Gentlemens Challenge and Erik van Lieshout seem to work with the ordinary image of masculinity on stage: the ritualised fight and a man who – of course – wants to win at all costs. But behind the achaic masquerade of both artists groups there seems to appear a probing questioning of male behaviour as well as a deep mistrust in ones own sexual identity. It is no longer mainly defined through the conflict with physical conditions, but it will be proved by playing or masking certain roles considered as “masculine“.
Group show with Nicole Bachmann, Discoteca Flaming Star, Gentlemen’s Challenge, Laibach, Erik van Lieshout, Ulrike Ottinger, Jimmy Robert, Jesper Just, Michael van Ofen, Torbjørn Rødland, Megan Sullivan, Giorgio Ronna, Lala Raščić
Events featuring Werner Bärtschi, Big Zis, Sabina Leone und Lamont Prince
Location: Palace, Blumenbergplatz, CH-9004 St. Gallen