Exercise Theater

Exercise  Theater
  • FromJudith von Sternberg

    To draw conclusions

Staatstheater Darmstadt will present Gregor Schneider’s “Death Room” over a weekend.

From Thursday to late Sunday evening, artist Gregor Schneider’s “Death Room” can be viewed on the website of the Darmstadt State Theater, set on the small house stage. The moment was well chosen. Just as museums (could have been) school classrooms and testing or vaccination centers during these months, theater can also show itself from the other side and thus remains in view.

If you said so, didn’t it steal from the “death room”? Of the three camera angles to be chosen, one was not the strongest, one that offered double staging? From afar you could see the stage with an empty, jerk-off auditorium, red armchairs, then installation, and only a short time later it became clear that there was an audience on stage: a shadowy figure, the artist himself though one had to read) , Who in turn looked in his “death room” through a plank. There is no question that this must have been a very rigorous exercise for him. But repetition itself enhances the theme and idea of ​​”death room”. In front of the screen alone we see an empty room called a theater and at the end of which a person appears in a room called a room. “Room of Death”.

In addition, both rooms appear unfurnished, but of architectural class. Schneider took Mies van der Rohe’s Haus Lange / Haus Esters as a model in Krefeld – it can also be read, but from afar you can doubt anything about solid material. Here, as he points out, he once held his first exhibition.

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Scatter and reflection

“Death Room” is an old installation by a 51-year-old. He developed it in 2008 to show a dead man after a non-implemented project. Sculpting this idea is no longer so easy to understand in Retrospect, but once it is off the table, it becomes possible again to deal with it more intellectually. The “room of death” today does not seem like a room in which something, something is missing – someone who is dying – but like a place to reflect, a chapel without religion. The apparent opportunity to reflect one’s own fatal death is not forced upon one. But it is in the room.

The fact that the end of life and the framework in which it occurs is focusing on new ways never seen before, experienced by many alone, makes the new presentation particularly relevant . On the other hand, “place of death” offers the opposite of a possibility, a consolation or a solution. Ambiguity is reflected here. The theater, which is not allowed to be a theater, is the perfect setting for this imperfection, which barely – and because it remains so quiet beyond the ventilation system – is not a naked disappointment.

Perhaps empty rooms are very familiar at the moment – and if you’re the only person in a large office – that’s why there’s a little bit there. It would obviously be overwhelming at the moment to see the hand of someone who is ill, who is allowed to be near and just there.

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