ELLEN BORNKESSEL | Play
Opening: Friday, 4 April 2008, 7 p.m.
Exhibition: 5 April 2008 - 10 May 2008
In her latest work, shown in conjunction with the video loop “Rock You”, Ellen Bornkessel intensifies her artistic analysis of the public space that surrounds us and the conceivable ways in which it can be experienced by the individual. The photographic work, composed of five vast images, links the boundaries between documentary and fiction.
Reminiscent of film stills, the images refer to real places, situations and individuals. With her use of stage techniques, Ellen Bornkessel increases the density of the original scene and distorts the context.
Her figures behave as though on stage, where scenes are played out against a backdrop. What appears at first to be straightforward ultimately defies interpretation that is unambiguous. The personalities of the youth shown in the process of various leisure activities remain hidden. A compact image-ridden space emerges in the somewhat mysterious atmosphere of the night-time photography, where contradictory elements co-exist in harmony. Ellen Bornkessel combines this approach with the “Rock You” video, now shifting to active intervention of the backdrop in question.
Using social housing with partly barricaded windows as her setting, she stages several actors, not unlike a Dadaist grotesque, allowing them to exuberantly occupy this inert space in an absurd manner. Ellen Bornkessel's mise en scène incorporates deliberately calculated mistakes and accidental incidents. The studied frankness of the scene gives her work an improvised slant, similar to an impromptu street performance whose course is unpredictable.
Ellen Bornkessel's work frequently focuses on unpropitious or absurd places and circumstances, the coldness, functionality and anonymity of which excludes key aspects of social life. At the same time they point to both the human ability and the will to nonetheless create free zones and experience moments of happiness.