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AUGUST 31 - DECEMBER 10, 2016

Putting Rehearsals to the Test

Image: Klaus Scherübel, La répétition (Prototype), VOL. 24, 2016. Courtesy the artist.



To be continued: Unfinished Repetitions



Discoteca Flaming Star • Harun Farocki • Marie Claire Forté and Alanna Kraaijeveld in dialogue with Sophie Bélair Clément • Hanako Geierhos • Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens • Jutta Koether • Krüger & Pardeller • Achim Lengerer (in collaboration) • Rashid Masharawi •  Klaus Scherübel 



Sabeth Buchman, Ilse Lafer and Constanze Ruhm


STICKY STAGE, performance by Discoteca Flaming Star

31.08.2016, 8 pm to 8 am


Curators' Tour

31.08.2016, 12:15 pm


SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine will host a major event entitled Putting Rehearsals to the Test, accompanied by a film program presented at the Cinémathèque québécoise and at VOX. The three curators of the exhibition, Sabeth Buchmann, Ilse Lafer, and Constanze Ruhm, bring together over fifty international artists who address a set of positions and strategies in contemporary art that consider rehearsal as both subject and practice. While the subject of “rehearsal” is popular in film and theater, as well as in the fine arts, it has been scarcely considered in historical and contemporary art discourses. It is with this in mind that the exhibition Putting Rehearsals to the Test investigates the role and function of the notion of “rehearsal,” understood as a methodology, a modus operandi, a medium, a site of representation and reflection for artistic production processes.



Complete list of artists and filmmakers

Marwa Arsanios • Judith Barry •Martin Beck • Rainer Bellenbaum • Cana Bilir-Meier / Liesa Kovacs / Lisa Kaeppler in collaboration with Nora Jacobs • Merlin Carpenter • Keren Cytter • Carola Dertnig • Discoteca Flaming Star • Loretta Fahrenholz • Harun Farocki • Heike-Karin Foell • Marie Claire Forté and Alanna Kraaijeveld in dialogue with Sophie Bélair Clément • Hanako Geierhos • Jean-Luc Godard • Ana Hoffner • Oliver Husain • Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens • On Kawara • Jutta Koether • Eva Könnemann • Krüger & Pardeller • Achim Lengerer • Rashid Masharawi • Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk • Eva Meyer and Eran Schaerf • minimal club • Regina (Maria) Möller • Yoko Ono • Silke Otto-Knapp • Falke Pisano • Mathias Poledna • Marlies Pöschl • Isa Rosenberger • Constanze Ruhm • Susanne Sachsse • Klaus Scherübel • Eske Schlüters • Maya Schweizer • Wendelien van Oldenborgh • Clemens von Wedemeyer • Tanja Widmann • Katarina Zdjelar • Heimo Zobernig


This event is made possible through the invaluable support of the BKA – The Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the Austrian Cultural Forum/Austrian Embassy, the Goethe-Institut, the IFA – Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (Germany), the Mondriaan Fonds (Netherlands), the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.


Thank you to VOX, centre de l'image contemporaine, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, centre des arts actuels SKOL and Oboro.

SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art

To be continued: Unfinished Repetitions

31.08.2016 - 10.12.2016

STICKY STAGE, performance by Discoteca Flaming Star: 31.08.2016, 8 pm to 8 am
Curators' Tour: 31.08.2016, 12:15 pm


Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery
It’s not about models, it’s about modeling
30.08.2016 – 29.10.2016

Opening: 30.08.2016, 5:30 pm
Curators' Tour: 30.08.2016, 5 pm


VOX, centre de l'image contemporain

In-the-Making: The Post-Dramatic Image

01.09.2016 - 26.11.2016

Opening: 01.09.2016, 5:30 pm

Tanja Widmann & Curators’ Tour: 01.09.2016, 5 pm


Film Program
Cinémathèque québécoise
Screening: Passion (1982)

Dir.: Jean-Luc Godard
02.09.2016, 9 pm


VOX, centre de l'image contemporaine
Daily screenings

02.09.2016 - 01.10.2016







Anchor 1


To be continued: Unfinished Repetitions


While the subject of “rehearsal” is popular in film and theater, as well as in the fine arts, it has been scarcely considered in historical and contemporary art discourses. It is with this in mind that the exhibition Putting Rehearsals to the Test investigates the role and function of the notion of “rehearsal”, understood as a methodology, a modus operandi, a medium, a site of representation and reflection for artistic production processes.


With reference to Sympathy for the Devil (One plus One) (1968) by Jean-Luc Godard, Beware of a Holy Whore (1971) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Lives of Performers  (1972) by Yvonne Rainer, the exhibition negotiates artistic attempts to entangle  “life” and “art” by translating the genres of the documentary, the musical, the dance film as well as the melodrama into a structural narrative about obsolete hierarchies, social relations and emotional interactions. The topos of rehearsal serves as a site where real and fictitious role playing and repetitive behavioural patterns converge with learning exercises. These films can be considered post-revolutionary, in that they reflect on structural and personal conflicts - such as competition or envy - deriving from the attempts of the ’68 generation to overcome entrenched power relations. This section focuses on models of repetition that are rooted in ideas of equality and parity.


These topics are directly addressed by Discoteca Flaming Star, whose installation Sticky Stage refers to Jules Dassin’s film Rehearsal (1974) about the fall of the Greek students’ upheavals in the beginning of the 1970s—a devastating experience which is re-enacted in Dassin’s film by a group of actors, musicians and intellectuals in order to analyze the failure of the revolution as well as to conceive of effective strategies of resistance against the military dictatorship in Greece at that time. In Sticky Stage the rehearsal becomes a transitory practice linking historical documents to experimental arrangements for alternative models of co-action. Comparable examples are the student protests that took place in Montréal in the spring of 2012 or even far earlier, in the unrest of the 1970s and 1980s and the workers’ strikes and general political upheavals that aimed at the improvement of participation and (self-) empowerment in the face of the unbridled triumph of the neoliberal economy. Using the model of “rehearsal”, Discoteca Flaming Star doesn’t repeat heroic narrations; rather they investigate the dialectics of action/ activation and inaction/ de-activation. This turns the methodology of rehearsal simultaneously into a discursive tool and into a lens through which both moments of interrupting mechanisms of control as well as the permanent implementation of pre-fabricated rules become visible.


Harun Farocki’s documentary Retraining is a remake of Die Schulung/ The Training (1987)—an instructional film documenting (self-)educational methods for and by managers in learning to promote and market their products in an optimized way. Whereas the first film is about young managers in the Ex-FRG, the participants in the second one are born in the Ex-GDR. Learning to improve their job performance by attending a seminar in rhetoric, the young managers act as alumni who imitate their own professions. Taught by a coach from the Ex-FRG, and referring to advanced organization and management theory, the film resembles a parable about the incorporation and triumph of Western consumer capitalism within the reunified country.


Waiting is an unscripted documentation of a casting session held by Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi in 2002 for his forthcoming project, a feature film of the same name. Due to the volatile political circumstances in Ramallah, Masharawi found himself stuck in Amman/Jordan, where he ended up conducting a casting with Palestinian actors who were instructed to “wait”: not to perform, but to live “waiting”. The work focuses on moments of transition, where forms of casting and rehearsal become and shape reality at the same time.


The artists Krüger & Pardeller appropriate procedures of rehearsal in order to create expanded models for workshops that address not only the question of representation but also the validity of institutional critique. Their idea of common learning exercises concerns and affects all institutional participants including corporate consultants. As a general parenthesis, aesthetic and political processes appear as fragmented, incoherent, unfinished narratives that leave space for the imagination of alternative forms of collaboration and of possible futures. Procedures of analysis meet with speculation about the future of institutions that are based on public-private partnerships. Their stack of posters can be read at once as schemes, diagrams, and take-aways that might circulate in public space.


Hanako Geierhos’ transitory objects (see text at Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery) and Jutta Koether’s modular paintings (see text at VOX) - whose forms and aesthetics result from performative concepts of subject-object relations - use the idea of “unfinished repetitions” for the transitory networks of gestures and figurations as they take place in painting, or in post-minimal media (objects, props, books, etc.).


Achim Lengerer’s continuous practice of editing magazines titled Scriptings serves as a tool for collaborative reading and writing as well as a medium that can be figured as a transitory object. Dealing with subjects and methodological devices from various fields (art, literature, film, theory, politics, science and technology) the editorial process creates a rehearsal-like scenario in which the participants (the active ones as well as the visitors) adopt and perform shifting roles. Here, Scriptings#46, A catalogue, in any case unreasoned and incomplete replaces the conventional exhibition texts.


Using a reproduction of one of Edgar Degas’s famous dance rehearsal paintings, aptly titled The Rehearsal (1874), Klaus Scherübel conceives a “calendar object” La répétition (Prototype), VOL. 24 (2016) whose presentation corresponds to the individual timeframes of the three exhibitions at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine. While every page of the calendar always displays the exactly same reproduction of the painting, it always refers to a different month, in this case from August to December. Conceptually autonomous in its referentiality to the history of painting, it becomes a functional object as well.


When the Guests Are Not Looking (2016) by Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens is a series of ephemeral, invisible performance rehearsals centered on the character of Denis Diderot’s dialogue Rameau’s Nephew (1762–1777). These performances take place outside of the galleries’ opening hours and are accessible only by way of a publication. While Ibghy & Lemmens’s ghost performer, whose actual existence is uncertain, literally rehearses in the institutional off space, Marie Claire Forté and Alanna Kraaijeveld (in dialogue with Sophie Bélair Clément) render visible a set of coordinates where the performers’ labour can be witnessed as their bodies moving through the history of choreography in their unannounced rehearsals titled Rehearsals for Collections of dances by Christian Rizzo, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, Édouard Lock, William Forsythe, Merce Cunningham, Saburo Teshigawara, Trisha Brown; Jeffrey Daniel, Michael Jackson and Vincent Patterson, Mats Ek, Dana Michel; Dana Foglia, Chris Grant and JaQuel Knight, Crystal Pite, Pina Bausch, Lloyd Newson, Tedd Robinson, Hofesh Shechter, Bob Fosse, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Daniel Linehan, Amanda Acorn, Jiři Kilyán, Akram Khan, Stijn Celis, Deborah Hay, Liz Santoro and Pierre Godard, Marie Claire Forté, Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehmacher and others (2016).


Together with Achim Lengerer’s Scriptings publication, these performances take place in and around all three spaces, thereby linking the three scenarios of the exhibition Putting Rehearsals to the Test into one complex constellation of rehearsals.


Understood as both—i.e. as quoted forms of representation/ expression as well as devices for actual and/ or virtual (inter-)actions, the topos of rehearsal reveals the implicit potential of critique and alteration. Unknown and kaleidoscopic settings are generated, within which the fragile, multiplied and fractured instants and unregulated relations between the works and the participants can be displayed and experienced.

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