The Fairytale Recordings

The Fairytale Recordings, 2011
Performance with eight vases made of porcelain, glazed, painted
Nr.1 GHOST, 2005 WORDS BY TOM MORTON
Nr.2 EVERYDAY, 2004 WORDS BY LILI REYNAUD DEWAR
Nr.3 BLACK SPIRIT, 2004 WORDS BY LILI REYNAUD DEWAR
Nr.4 POWER CHORDS, 2005 WORDS BY MICK PETER
Nr.5 VICE DE FORME (A DUEL OF WARRIORS), 2009 WORDS BY INA BLOM
Nr.6 BRUME, 2003 WORDS BY LILI REYNAUD DEWAR
Nr.7 BLACK HOLE, 2005 WORDS BY TOM MORTON
Nr.8 L´HUMOUR NOIR (SONG FOR SAÂD), 2010 WORDS BY TACITA DEAN

Saâdane Afifs highly reflexive work is applied in an interdisciplinary way, connecting fine arts with text, music and motion, transforming one art form into another in collaboration with other artists. By inviting writers to write about works of fine art and then asking musicians and actors to react to the resultant texts, Afif transfers the visual sense to something else. In Afif’s first solo exhibition at RaebervonStenglin in Switzerland, this kind of process turns full circle:

The lyrics, which emerged as answers to earlier works, transform, through performance and pieces of Nymphenburg Porcelain, into sculptures which comprise the entire creative process in their form. Thus, “The Fairytale Recordings” originates from the earlier works of Afif for which the authors and artists Tom Morton, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Mick Peter, Ina Blom and Tacita Dean wrote lyrics which reflect the essence of the works.

Poetic-sounding titles like "Ghost", "Black Hole" and "Vice De Forme (A Duel of Warriors)" evoke a dark magic. Based on these texts, Afif, together with opera singer and actor Katharina Schrade, created a performance piece in which each text is part spoken and part acted out. As a result, a transfer, a rework of the text comes into existence, which is then spoken into a specially made vase, the vase sealed and the verse contained within for eternity.

Eight of the exhibited vases were made by hand according to Afif’s designs in the masters’ workshops of the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory. Each piece has a different figurine gracing its lid, which represents the posture in which Schrade begins 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.

In addition to the performances, Afif also drew up limited edition posters. These list all the elements which brought about the exhibition and name all of those who took part in the piece and, as such, are a visual statement on the exhibition. The graphical presentation of names is a common motif throughout Afif’s works and has been an important aspect of all his exhibitions. By transforming art into literature, music, albums, performances, artistic objects and posters, Afif visualises the instrumental machine which forms the basis of a work – particularly in the style of production processes in the music industry.

In Nymphenburg, works of art are manufactured by hand as singular objects or strictly limited editions according to the designs of contemporary artists, who count among the most well-known artists worldwide. Well-known visual artists such as Carsten Höller, Olaf Nicolai and Wim Delvoye focus intensely on the historical and cultural context of Nymphenburg and express their outstanding artistic visions in the highest quality porcelain.

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