SCHWANEN (POISON PATH)
Immersive installation (jesmonite casts, mirror perspex, metal hooks, aluminium casts, latex, textile objects); Sound, Arm For An Eye (jesmonite, textile); Swan Lever (1-5) (textile, aluminium cast, latex), Niebelungen of Mayfair (HD Video, 5min, sound)
In Schwanen, which literally means "Swaning" the symbolic grammar of Fokine’s classical ballet piece (Le Cygne) “Dying Swan” is appropriated with the aid of a prosthetic tool worn by the solo performers, representing a swan wrestling with death.
The title refers to the archaic german word "Schwanen". According to fairytale author Grimm, it as an inherited word of the common people, connecting it to the traditional Germanic association of swans with prophecy and fate (cf. the Norns) and pointing to the synonymous expression Schwansfedern haben/tragen (literally “to have/wear swan's feathers”). Earlier variants contain -d- (schwanden, Low German swanden), probably under influence of ahnden, a once common variant of ahnen (“to anticipate, to suspect”)
Swaning is activated several times per day through solo performers taking the wearable objects off the hooks and dressing them on. In a series of durational performances, their stretching arms are gliding in a repetitive passage through air, attached to buckled latex on a riveted harness and skake wheel metal rings. Tides of tension and release destroy and renew the performer's supraspinatus muscles, as performed over several hours. It is a meditation on decay and renewal which is accompanied by an instruction letter to each performer in which the spirit of the swan is invocated.
Gallery views: 2022, Royal Academy of Arts London