Ulla Von Brandenburg Interview: How We Live and What We Share

“How much do we need the other?” Watch German artist Ulla von Brandenburg on her colourful installation and film ‘It Has a Golden Sun and an Elderly Grey Moon’, which – through seven dancers – explores how people interact in a community.

The architecture of the institutions where the film is shown reflects the architecture of the film: “My aim – not only for this project – is to involve the public and the people looking at the film, so that they are at the same position as the dancers.” There are five topics in the film, which Brandenburg feels are very important: the stairs as a way of showing hierarchy and elevation, “movement without any words” as a form of communication through body language, rituals in a non-religious sense, fabric and the theme of colours: “This is my first colour film, so I wanted to make it very precise about colour… But also questioning the different senses of colour, because the meaning of colours also has a social or cultural background.”

Through the seven dancers living on the “antique architecture of stairs,” Brandenburg explores what a community or society is, as well as the role of the individual. Born in the 1970s, she grew up with the idea of social democracy and solidarity, which she feels is fading: “I think we are about to lose a lot of these really important thoughts, which are so important to make a society liveable for all of us.” In connection to this, she also examines power – whether we need a leader “and what happens if the leader falls down the stairs.”

For the installation, Brandenburg has brought the original dancers from the film back to activate the displayed objects and to improvise on the question of exchange: “Our capitalistic system of exchange is a very specific one, but there could be many other systems of course of how we could live and exchange – things, work, time.” Moreover, because she finds it important that the visitors are invited to take part, the objects in the installation are also available to the audience without restriction: “That means that you are also in a way responsible and activated.”

Ulla von Brandenburg (b. 1974) is a German artist, whose multifaceted practice is realised through a combination of film, installation, performance, drawing and painting. She often draws on the methods of the theatre, engaging with cultural or social issues from different moments in history. Major solo exhibitions of her work include venues such as Pérez Art Museum Miami in Miami, ACCA in Melbourne, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in St. Louis and Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. She has also participated in group exhibitions at Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo in Paris, ICA in Boston and Tate Modern in London. She lives and works in Paris.

Ulla von Brandenburg was interviewed by Jeanett Stampe at Kunsthal Aarhus in Aarhus, Denmark in November 2017.

In the video, extracts are shown from the 16 mm-film ‘It Has a Golden Sun and an Elderly Grey Moon’ (2016) by Ulla von Brandenburg. The film recreates a performance originally played out across a staircase installed on the stage of the Amandiers Theatre in Nanterre, France. Film and installation are paired with a new performance, unfolding the architecture of the film’s staging as well as the film’s choreographies into the exhibition space.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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