The videos, performances and installations of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (Strasbourg, France, 1965) employ literature to explore the relationship between fiction and reality, and theatre to stage an imaginative narrative that — fuelled by 19th -century myths — juxtaposes the present.
This session in the Intervalos series will screen three of her latest films, including Otello 1887, a cinematic opera which is co-produced by the Museo Reina Sofía. The work represents an epilogue to SPLENDIDE-HOTEL, a site-specific project the artist realised for the Palacio de Cristal in 2014. The installation depicted the accumulation of a series of moments hailing from 1887: the Palacio de Cristal was built to exhibit the plants and flowers that were sent from the Philippines, a Spanish colony at that time; Freud could be found penning his theory of psychoanalysis; and it was the year that Marcel Duchamp was born. The period, a priori with no great relevance to the origins of modernity, saw a tired European culture questioning itself, in the works of writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Mann, in its state as a space of healing and a health resort-refuge. Therefore, it was hardly surprising that Gonzalez-Foerster’s intervention transformed the Palacio de Cristal into a large hotel for tuberculosis.
The three films that feature in this session closely inspect the connections and confluences that were joined in 1887, along with the ties between literature and theatre, venturing to explore the 19st -century stereotypes and shadows that still endure today. The racial allusions to Shakespeare’s Othello take on a new dimension as they are reinterpreted inside the Palacio de Cristal’s colonial architecture through Verdi’s opera Otello. The letters of Véra Nabokov, Véra & Mr. Hyde — performed by the artist in the film —reawaken another work from 1887, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, which explores the relationships between the savage and civilised, the proletariat and the bourgeois. The session programme concludes with the myth of the actress, dancer, courtesan and feminist Lola Montez, a source of inspiration for so many artists in the last third of the 19th century.
Wednesday, 14 October: first screening with the artist present
Saturday, 17 October: second screening
Film, 2015. 27’, Original version (Spanish subtitles)
Véra & Mr. Hyde
Film, 2015. 17’, Original version (Spanish subtitles)
Lola Montez in Berlin
Film, 2015. 4’, sound
Intervalos is a programme of film screenings that displays contemporary audiovisual creations, the Museo’s in-house productions and works which, falling between the performative and the cinematic, portray new pathways of images in movement.