The installation by the artist Katrina Daschner in Gallery Krobath Berlin provides a tantalizing glimpse of the traditions and variations of burlesque as the artist transfers her performance and theatrical work into the exhibition space, thereby also reflecting on the act of transfer.
The secret of burlesque is impeccable timing: the precision of the dialectic performance, oscillating between simultaneously exposing and concealing, suggesting and delaying, affirming and differentiating sexualised codes and gestures. While the classic shows in the vaudevilles of the 1930s allowed for tongue-in-cheek glimpses behind the curtains and sensual moments of disillusionment, the queer neo-burlesque shows use these elements to deconstruct both genre and gender in a lavish celebration of queer femmeness.
In addition to her CLUB BURLESQUE BRUTAL (CBB), Daschner – one of the main protagonists of the new interpretation of the genre from a queer perspective – creates a “performative arena” (Christa Benzer) in her works, where identity and sexual power relations come into play.
The exhibition, pithily entitled DASCHNER, takes the codes of “Burlesque Brutal” to the arena: a neon yellow poster advertises the shows of the “Queer Femmes on Tour 2012 – CBB”, while also referring to real burlesque practice in a documentary manner; a hyper-realistic bronze sculpture entitled Walküre (Frau Professor La Rose) is presented on a pedestal, facing the viewer at eye level; and seven framed embroidered images depict sketches of various stage designs and situations.
These embroidered images (Silber Glitter, Lichtstrahl, Bertha, Las Vegas, Projektion, Position Drehbühne, Walkürenritt) illustrate, in a laconic, minimalistic and almost mathematically accurate manner, the precise geometry of glamour. They debunk the illusory nature of burlesque devices, while offering an artistic form for the presentation of performance practices which goes beyond the standard method of documenting ‘after the fact’. With her embroidered stage architectures, Daschner redefines textiles “to encompass the (patriarchal) order of handicraft, of arts and senses” (Stefan Neuner).
The sculptural personification of Frau Professor La Rose (Daschner’s current stage persona for CLUB BURLESQUE BRUTAL and in her latest films) is a deliberate brutal contrast to her abstractions of the burlesque. The sculpture, cast in heavy bronze, is a graphic and realistic reference to the “real thing”, to the burlesque body, offering itself provocatively with all its weight to be gazed at and touched – while immediately gazing back and appearing on another stage time and again.
English translation: Mandana Taban