Die Sonne scheint noch.
In her project presented at CEAAC’s International Project Space, Marianne Mispelaëre continues her political observations of the contemporary world. The exhibition brings together a number of questions addressed by the research and experiments she conducted during a residency in Frankfurt from January to March 2021. In line with her artistic focus on alternative narratives and gestures, she investigated forms of resistance in German history and the potential inherent in our physical presence. The title of her exhibition, The Sun Still Shines, borrows the last known words of Sophie Scholl, the German anti-Nazi resistance fighter and member of the network Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose), before her execution. In her project at CEAAC, Mispelaëre represents bodies in an attitude of waiting whose mere presence is to be understood as a form of language – fragile bodies experiencing confinement, writing or manifesting themselves in the public space through banal, almost unnoticeable gestures. Bodies that infuse society rather than imposing themselves on it through spectacular actions. But what do they express? Stupefaction? Meditation? Action? Hypnosis?
How can attitudes that elude familiar codes of demonstration and rebellion be harnessed to rethink the scope of political action using discretion, minimal action and discreet gestures, yet still carrying clear messages and strong intentions? Who activates these gestures, and in which contexts? From which little signs can we guess that something is in fact happening although nothing seems to happen at all? According to the idea that when no word is spoken, no object is produced and no gesture is made, all we can do is try to interpret the void, Mispelaëre’s artistic research reflects on silence and translation as key political elements.
A lament is a passionate expression of grief in the form of poetry or song. The mourning it expresses does not necessarily have to be of death, but can also be about the loss of something, or an articulation of distress. Maybe a loss of a motivation, or a feeling of stuckness in an unpleasant spiral. It is often recognizable by the expression of somber, looping thought. Musically, it can be expressed with the use of minor scales and ‘lament bass’ — descending tetrachords representing a mournful emotion. A lament builds tension in repetition but does not resolve – it depicts an emotion in a state of no escape.
Throughout her residency with CEAAC Strasbourg, Kristin Reiman have been writing a choir piece, a medley of small lamentations. They span from ruminations over feeling like a fraud, as the best one can do is not good enough, to hoping to wish farewell to one’s means of expression after the former ambitions have worn out. The texts written from an individual’s point of view are conveyed in an aggregate of voices: choral music — traditionally used to express grand narratives of religion or nationalism — becomes a means of giving weight to an artist’s verbalization about their personal hardships in making work. The piece never resolves and loops endlessly in pondering.