Ulla von Brandenburg, Sink Down Mountain, Raise Up Valley, Kim?, Riga, 29.04 – 07.06.15

At the centre of Ulla von Brandenburg’s exhibition Sink Down Mountain, Raise Up Valley is an idea about a commune of Saint-Simonians – a French political and social movement of the first half of the 19th century, inspired by the ideas of a utopian socialist, the founder of sociology and a prescient “madman” – Claude Henri de Rouvroy (or Saint-Simon, 1760–1825). In March this year in Riga the cooperation of actors of New Riga Theatre (Maija Apine, Jevgēnis Isajevs, Andris Keišs, Varis Piņķis, Edgards Samītis), Bank of Latvia choir and conductors, Swedish composer Joachim Saxenborn, filming and sound recording crew resulted in the creation of a film-performance, central piece of the exhibition in the two floors of kim?, populated by various objects, textiles and wooden installations.

This is the artist’s second performance-staging which follows Saint-Simonian ideology of a future society based on the spirit of science and industry, where each individual would find fulfilment through the exercise of his or her productive powers in a hierarchical society overseen by technocrats. Saint-Simonians believed that society would restructure itself by abandoning traditional ideas of temporal and spiritual power, an evolution that would lead, inevitably, to a productive society based on, and benefiting from, a “… union of men engaged in useful work”, the basis of “true equality”. The exhibition in Riga will conjure up memories and embody this pioneering platform of “live socialism” whose supporters and followers include such notable thinkers and social theorists as Auguste Comte, Heinrich Heine, Thomas Carlyle, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill and others.

Ulla von Brandenburg’s work is characterised by the diversity in the media she uses, which in turn translates into a thematic concentration. Certain motifs appear in different contexts, performances reger back to ideas in wall paintings, drawings prove themselves to be preliminary studies for films, and the props in films become objects in their own right. Her idea of carnival as a legitimate transgression of social order meets with the notion of mask as a desire for new identity and the confusion of reality and appearance in theatrical stagings.

Born in 1974 in Karlsruhe, Ulla von Brandenburg lives and works in Paris. Her work is present, among others, by the following institutions: Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fisher Landau Center For Art, Long Island, NY; Tate Modern, London; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea,Torino; FRAC Piemonte, Torino; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la Creation, Paris; FRAC Ile-de-France, Paris; FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux; Frac Pays de la Loire, Carquefou. Exhibitions: MAMCO, Geneva; Kunstverein, Hannover (2014); Die Strasse Art : Concept, Paris (2013-2014); Secession, Vienna (2013), Installation Death of a King, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012-2013); Frac Ile de France, Paris (2011); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008).

Special thanks to: Ieva Epnere, Kristaps Epners, Agnese Gaile-Irbe, Lauren Montaron, Monika Pormale.

Supporters: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, The Goethe-Institut in Rīga, New Riga Theatre, Bistum Wuerzburg, Fondation de France, Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin, Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Nouveaux commanditaires of Fondation de France, Art : Concept, London College of Fashion, Absolut, VKN, Rīgas Laiks, Vivacolor, kultura.lv, Valmiermuižas alus, BIRZĪ, Pieci.lv, Rīga TV24, Delfi.

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