The Fairytale Recordings, Performance (2011) Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin
Performance with eight glazed and painted porcelain vases
No.1 GHOST, 2005 WORDS BY TOM MORTON
No.2 EVERYDAY, 2004 WORDS BY LILI REYNAUD DEWAR
No.3 BLACK SPIRIT, 2004 WORDS BY LILI REYNAUD DEWAR
No.4 POWER CHORDS, 2005 WORDS BY MICK PETER
No.5 VICE DE FORME (A DUEL OF WARRIORS), 2009 WORDS BY INA BLOM
No.6 BRUME, 2003 WORDS BY LILI REYNAUD DEWAR
No.7 BLACK HOLE, 2005 WORDS BY TOM MORTON
No.8 L´HUMOUR NOIR (SONG FOR SAÂD), 2010 WORDS BY TACITA DEAN
Saâdane Afif's performance at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin (2011) presented temporally process-like and repeating themes and motifs in the artist’s work, such as song lyrics or recurrent actors and co-authors, through performances and pieces made from Nymphenburg porcelain – sculptures that assimilate the entire creative process.
The "The Fairytale Recordings" project by Saâdane Afif makes reference to the artist’s previous works, for which the authors and artists Tom Morton, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Mick Peter, Ina Blom, and Tacita Dean developed song lyrics that reflect the essence of the pieces. The poetic-sounding titles, such as Ghost, Black Hole, and Vice De Forme (A Duel of Warriors) seem to invoke dark magic and evoke a mystical atmosphere.
Using the texts as a starting point, Afif, in collaboration with the opera singer and actress Katharina Schrade, developed a performance in which all the texts were partly repeated and partly transformed into a production. The text is thus transferred, processed, and finally spoken into a specially made vase. The vase is then sealed to contain these verses within it for all eternity.
The eight exhibited vases were produced entirely by hand in the workshops of the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory on the basis of Afif’s designs. Each piece bears a different figurine on its lid, representing the actress holding the poise in which she begins her performance. Furthermore, a reference number, the title of the song, and the date provide information about the recording itself. For Saâdane Afif, all those involved in the creative process play an important role – the authors, the actresses, their costume designers, and the Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. Afif chooses these co-authors carefully in order to fill the piece with life thanks to their special knowledge and savoir-faire.
The idea for this piece can be traced back to (historical) notions of audio recording, to thoughts found in pre-Enlightenment literature, for example in the works of François Rabelais, who envisaged the possibility that the spoken word could be frozen, as well as to the animistic notion that non-human entities could embody spiritual life forces. In addition to the performances, Afif also developed limited edition posters in collaboration with the graphic designer deValence. These posters list all the elements that led to the exhibition and name all the people involved in the piece. They are thus a visual commentary on the exhibition. The graphic presentation of the names is a pervasive motif in Afif’s work and is an important aspect in all his exhibitions.
By transforming art into literature, music, albums, performances, artistic objects, and posters, Afif reveals the contributing apparatus that underlies the creation of a work of art, in particular drawing on production processes in the music industry. Afif’s artistic projects always yield new works of art, one exhibition leads to the next, and they are connected. However, in Afif’s art the foremost element in this process of developing pieces, which seems so logical, is the aspect of transformation, which enables different external influences to have an impact on the creative process; influences that, however, always seek the elusive and untranslatable essence of the work of art.
* Saâdane Afif BIO
Saâdane Afif‘s conceptual work is interdisciplinary and combines visual arts with text, music, and movement. In collaboration with other artists, Afif transforms one form of art into another. He translates the visual into other senses by inviting authors to write about works of visual art, then in turn having musicians and actors react to the texts thus produced. He thus projects the fundamental essence of a piece into the interpretations of different agents and lets it emerge more strongly.
Saâdane Afif was born in Vendôme in France in 1970. He received the Prix Marcel Duchamp for his ANTHOLOGIE DE L’HUMOUR NOIR exhibition (2010). His numerous solo exhibitions include A lecture, A Recording & A Few Witnesses, OPA, Guadalajara, Mexico (2010); Variétés, Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin (2009); Feedback, EACC Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castello, Valencia (2009); Technical Specifications, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2008); and Lyrics, in the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005). He lives and works Berlin.