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Gerling has achieved nothing less than a new form of theatre.
– Theater der Zeit
[Gerling's] show is uniquely heart-warming.
– The Times
Art could not be quieter, simpler or more beautiful.
Volker Gerling’s flipbook movies are artistic miniatures full of life and emotion — a poetic sensation.
– Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung
Having walked over 3,500 kilometres through Germany, Gerling took photographs of people he met during his wanderings, creating a travelling “thumb cinema” exhibition — portraits in the form of photographic flipbooks.
In a style that’s part lecture and part travelogue, Gerling reveals a selection of his favourite flipbooks. Using a video camera, he creates a spectacle that combines both the contemporary as well as much older forms of cinematic spectatorship. In a series of enchanting recollections, the subjects he photographed are momentarily brought to life as the theatre becomes a communal place of storytelling. This is a charming production that lives at the intersection of theatre, cinema and photography and was the recipient of a prestigious Total Theatre Award at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Merchandise from the artist will be available for purchase at this performance.
Supported by the Goethe-Institut.
Volker Gerling studied film directing and cinematography at Filmuniversität Babelsberg Konrad Wolf.
Aurora Nova is a theatre booking agency and consultancy firm based in Berlin. It specializes in bringing physical theatre, contemporary circus and new theatrical formats to festivals and venues worldwide. The company represents a growing roster of highly artistic yet universally entertaining shows, including Volker Gerling.
Join us for a series of Pre-show Teas with our World Stage Scholars-in-Residence. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to the opening performance of Portraits in Motion.
What is performance? What makes theatre different from the other arts? Eric Bentley (a theatre scholar perhaps best known for translating Brecht into English) defined drama as “A personifying B watched by C.” Peggy Phelan, a performance studies scholar at Stanford University, says live performance is different than, say, a painting or a novel because it “becomes itself through disappearance” – in other words, it is unique because it exists only in the present, and as soon as it is recorded or written down it becomes something else entirely. Yet neither of these definitions seem to apply to Portraits in Motion. Who, for instance, is being impersonated? And does it matter that the people that the performance seems to be about – the people in the photographs – are known to us only as Gerling has recorded their faces and told their stories? If performance is about presence, in other words – the presence of the performer, the presence of time – who is present and what is the present in this work? Join World Stage Scholar-in-Residence Julia Fawcett for a discussion about what we expect when we go to the theatre and how this differs from what we expect when we go to an art museum or open a book. What do we mean when we talk about theatre? And does Portraits in Motion fit this definition – or is it something new?
Following this evening’s performance, connect with the artists as they field your questions and discuss the work you’ve just seen. It’s the most direct behind-the-scenes access you can get. Admission is free with the purchase of your ticket.