Vor dem grossen Auftritt (Before the grand entrance)

Vor dem grossen Auftritt (Before the grand entrance)

2010, installation Shedhalle Zurich: 3 busts, plaster positives on base, 55x40x176 cm / 6 plots on photo paper, black/white, 106×300 cm / Text audioperformance 57 min., loop, Audioperformance spoken by: Fiamma Camesi / Busts in collaboration with: Pawel Ferus / Text recording and mastering: Ravi Vaid, Studio LIFT

[…] We are committed to those who try to free themselves from terror and violence, and if they are left with another measure than the one of war, then we are in favour of their war, and are against those, who escalate their terror. One has to walk back on the paths of history, develop the primal forces of the nation. The weapon human. […] Extract from the audioperformance

The voice from the off reads out a call to battle against the imperialistic powers which eventually refers to God as the creator of the nation. More than eight hours of audio material – in which an actress rehearses the text written by Nicole Biermaier in a recording studio – has been collected for the work. The text is a sampling of historical combat speeches from the Third Reich, the German Autumn and September 11, 2001. The artist draws a line through these three timephases, talks about the corresponding influences and consequences and addresses repetitions in history. Nicole Biermaier reduced the 8 hours of rehearsal to one hour. By revealing the textual work by the actress, she distances herself consciously from the text material: In addition to the serious presentation, also slips of the tongue, laughs and comments can be heard. The audio text is embedded in a dark stage-like room and resounds from the off. In the room, there are three women’s busts on a base illuminated by spot lights. These women stand for the protagonists of a planned, slowly developping and growing portrait, with which Nicole Biermaier intends to show the mechanisms of war, power and manipulation. Extract of text by Alexandra Blättler, 2010

Biermaier’s work not only weaves the dense texture of the speech, but also plays with the possibilities of being either audience or orator. The title of the 2010 work suggests a moment of waiting in the wings before entering into the limelight, though the word Auftritt could also mean performance or appearance, which underlines the blurring of boundaries between being and seeming. The speaker cannot be seen, but exists as a soundtrack of a woman’s voice, while three busts on plinths offer potential forms and epochs for the figure. The voice is also experimental – rather than a polished performance, we hear an actor practicing, trying out different approaches to the text, sometimes stumbling over words or laughing at her own mistakes. Black images extracted from war reportage are printed on three white sheets like banners that surround this ensemble. Extract of text by Aoife Rosenmeyer, 2013