press release

In 1973 in some town in the US, blood is leaking underneath a door of a house onto the pavement. Pedestrians pass by, astonished and disgusted, unable to relate to this disturbing moment breaking into their flaneurish routine. The scene was staged by Ana Mendieta. Strangely this image of anonymous violence turns into an absurd scenery. It provides a platform for the passers-by, their different looks and social profiles, their spontaneous performances, half intimate half public.

Apart from the obvious political background of Mendieta’s performance pointing to the limited capability of the public to react on domestic violence, the piece also seems to unfold a more abstract moment of a standstill. The puddle of blood becomes a silent sensation, a disruption of the flow of the everyday and the unifying effects of late capitalist culture.

Looking for self-realisation in this stage of urban milieus deprives us more and more from a sense of social gathering as a satisfying ideal, something meaningful, a disruption through enjoyment, love, sex, care, change and in its most radical vision death.

One remembers the special excitement of getting dressed up, for a night, a special event of significance, which is intended to create a change of intensity, a time out of the logic of rational pressures and constraints. Dressing up marks a moment of increased fragility, of exposure which can fail and even provoke aggression. It can be a protecting new skin, an armour, a pathetic and hysterical recreation of the self.

An extravaganza of this kind seems to be pretty obsolete in a pragmatic culture of today driven by the logic of efficiency, pragmatism and the cult of the casual. But one might look at it anew, as an elegiac posture, as transformative as distancing, pointing to a lack, to what one might miss, an introduction to an alternative realm of expression.

Anke Kempkes


All dressed up with nowhere to go
Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow (exchange with Anke Kempkes/Broadway 1602, New York)
Kurator: Anke Kempkes

mit Agnieszka Brzezanska, Friederike Clever, Ryan Doolan, Michael Hakimi, Edwin La Liq, Nick Mauss, Ana Mendieta, Seth Price