The complex and luscious oeuvre of Ulla von Brandenburg (b. 1974 in Karlsruhe, lives and works in Paris) includes specifically selected references to cultural history in a broad range of media. In her black-and-white films, installations, performances, murals, and drawings, she uses a vocabulary that seems to be borrowed from theater. Curtains and tents form stage-like settings for the recipients, as well as for the films, which thematize the simultaneity of the real, the fictional, the feigned, the unreal, and the surreal in a self-reflective manner. The films mostly address socio-cultural topics from different epochs, and fragmentarily show rituals and symbols that have been passed down to the present day. For the films’ texts, the artist uses the “écriture automatique” method, which was applied by the surrealists and described by André Breton as “dictation of thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason”. In her latest works, von Brandenburg arranges objects such as dreamcatchers, ribbons, rods, and ropes – along with canvases. The fabrics, previously folded and treated with light-sensitive substances, show only the shadows of inscribed folds and resemble illusionistic drapery. They appear to cover openings – concealed portals, with which the artist entices us into a surreal world.
René Zechlin describes Ulla von Brandenburg’s installations as “allegories for the theater as a symbol of life and for the complex link between theater and reality, illusion and reflection. She gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of life, without ruining the allure of her own game. With every image exposed by von Brandenburg as illusion, shadow or reflection, a new, equally complex image emerges.” This artist’s solo show, which coincides with the Sadie Murdoch exhibition and the historically oriented “DADA Differently”, spans two floors and includes early works, along with brand-new presentations.