Vue d’exposition / Installation view ‘Le Milieu est bleu’ – Ulla von Brandenburg, Palais de Tokyo, 21.02 – 13.09.2020 © Aurélien Mole

For this new exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Ulla von Brandenburg has imagined a total, evolving project, inspired from the theatre, as well as its imaginary and conventions. Around the notion of ritual, understood as the possibility to explore the relationships between individuals and groups, and to create or not to create something in common, the artist invites the public to take part in an immersive and renewed experience of the themes, forms and motifs that feed into her work: movement, the stage, colours, music, textiles…

Further information

Ulla von Brandenburg, Le milieu est bleu, 2020. Super-16-mm -film transferred on HD video (colour, sound)

“What is a community? The people does not exist in and of itself. I think we are all quite alone today. What do groups cohere around? Are there other possibilities for living?”

With this video shot on 16mm colour film, Ulla von Brandenburg transports the visitors into new surroundings. They find themselves in the Théâtre du Peuple in Bussang, a theatre built on a mountainside in the Vosges at the end of the 19th century to host theatrical festivities for the people. It is within this space infused with humanist ideals that Ulla von Brandenburg sets her performers, who sing a text inspired by the 1930 play The Deep-Sea Fish (Der Tiefseefisch) by Marieluise Fleisser (1901-1974). They act out a “micro-society, as if it were the last of its kind”: a living community cut off from the outside world, with its own economy, rules, and values. Their daily life is suddenly interrupted when one of the group’s members breaks with the ritual and opens the doors of the décor. They reveal to the spectator the specificity of the Bussang theatre – the back of the stage opens up directly onto the forest – and at the same time reveal to their community the possibility of contact with the outside world. The film offers at once a variation on ideas of loss, abandonment and flight, and a tale that reflects upon the themes of transgression and individual
responsibility within the collective.

At the end of the film, the members of the community disappear only to reappear within the Palais de Tokyo; the objects they bring with them become the works of the exhibition. Ulla von Brandenburg thus reveals the illusory nature of theatre and, like the bear that unexpectedly appears in her film, thrusts into the midst of our social organisation that which it strives to exclude: nature, and the unknown.

Ulla von Brandenburg, Le milieu est bleu, 2020
16mm colour film, HD video transfer, 23’43”

Courtesy of the artist and Art : Concept (Paris); Meyer Riegger (Berlin/Karlsruhe); Pilar Corrias Gallery (London); Produzentengalerie Hamburg

Director: Ulla von Brandenburg
Executive Producer: Julia Mossé
Dramaturg: Benoit Résillot
Choreography: Giuseppe Molino
Scenography: Valentina Dotti, Sabine Tarry, Julia Mossé, Julien Crépieux Accessories: Hannelore Lücke-Rausch, Fabienne Touzi dit
Terzi, Julien Crépieux, Adrien Collino, Charlotte Livine, Charles Poitevin Costumes: Valentina Dotti, Sabine Tarry, Julia Mossé, Clémence
Joly, Fanny Milone and with the support of the Opéra National de Paris
Music: Anna Holveck, Ulla von Brandenburg
Director of Photography: Laurent Coltelloni
Cameraman and Steadicam Operator: Eric Bialas
First Camera Assistant: Mathias Sabourdin
Head Electrician: Luis Peralta
Head Operator: Pierre Monneret
Production Co-Ordinator: Nicolas Galland
Technician-Electrician: Alban Thiébaut
Sound Engineer: Olivier Pelletier
Editing and Color grading: Nicolas Perret, Laurent Coltelloni
Postproduction: Alexandre Westphal
Equipment: Kodak France, Panavision Paris and Panalux Paris
Laboratory: Hiventy, Joinville-Le-Pont
Performers: Benoit Résillot, Giuseppe Molino, Laurence Mayor, Bianca Iannuzzi, Duncan Evennou, Larissa Emi, Jean-Marc Michels, Julia Mossé
Extras: Pauline-Alexandrine Deforge, Valentina Dotti, Anna Holveck, Ulla von Brandenburg, Sabine Tarry, Julien Crépieux, Alice Monneret, Pascal Alexandre, Aurélia Barraux, Maud Chasseux, Christine Frechin, Grégory Gillar, Alain Grivel, Maryvonne Hans, Pascalle Henry, Martial Imbault, Anne Jacquot, Laurence Joly, Céline Motte, Linda Nachtigall, Christine Peyrole, Catherine Poirot, Josette Prud’homme, Odile Rose, Evelyne Saint Dizier, Bénédicte Thiebaut
Catering: Pascal Bernard
Thanks to: Simon Delétang, Alice Trousset, Clélie Bagard and the team at the Théâtre du Peuple, Bussang ; Yoann Gourmel, Albane de Chatellus, Christine Neumeister, Marianne Lamour, Vincent Ferreira, Jessica Nourisson, Pierre-Marie Paubel, Matthieu Imbert