Saâdane Afif: The Fairytale Recordings
In the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, Nymphenburg in cooperation with the RaebervonStenglin gallery presented a performance of the artist Saâdane Afif with items of Nymphenburg porcelain: The Fairytale Recordings. It is the first work the Marcel Duchamp award-winner (2009) has done for Nymphenburg; indeed, it is the first time he has ever worked with porcelain at all.
Saâdane Afif’s highly reflexive work is interdisciplinary, connecting fine art with text, music and motion, and, in cooperation with other artists, he transforms one art form into another. Afif transfers the visual to other senses by inviting writers to write pieces on fine art and having musicians and actors react to the written texts. In Afif’s solo show in the Schinkel Pavillon Berlin, such a cycle was played out in its entirety:
The Fairytale Recordings is based on earlier works of Afif, for which writers and artists such as Tom Morton, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Mick Peter, Ina Blom and Tacita Dean developed song texts which reflect the nature of the works. Afif also based a performance with opera singer and actress Katharina Schrade on the texts, in which each text is part-repeated and part-enacted. In the end, this gives rise to a production of text, the voice-over for which is recorded and sealed in a specially crafted Nymphenburg vase, storing the verse inside it for eternity.
The eight showcased vases were produced according to Afif’s designs in the masters’ workshops of the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory solely by hand. Each item bears a different figurine which portrays Schrade in the posture she adopts at the beginning of her performance. Furthermore, a reference number, the song title and the date provide the corresponding information on the recording.
For Saâdane Afif, all those participating in the creation process play an important role: the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory, the authors, the actors, and their costume designers. He chooses them carefully so that their expert knowledge and savoir faire fill his work with life. The idea for this work goes back to (historical) conceptions of sound recordings before the time of Thomas Edison, to thoughts of how these would be found in literature before the Enlightenment – with François Rabelais, for example, who envisioned how the spoken word could be frozen – or even to the animist concept of how non-human forms of existence could embody intellectual vitality.
The Fairytale Recordings, 2011 performance with eight vases made of porcelain, glazed, painted, series 3, price by request
Exhibition: 29 Oct - 11 Dec 2011 / Schinkel Pavillon e.V., Nina Pohl / Stephan Landwehr, Oberwallstraße 1, 10117 Berlin / Thurs - Sun 12 - 6 PM www.schinkelpavillon.de