Work on Paper
VAN GOGH / BECKETT / CALLAS / WILDE / SARTRE / DE BEAUVOIR / MOZART / FASSBINDER / PIAF / CITROËN / GAINSBOURG / RAVEL / SATIE / BELLINI / BRETON / GIVENCHY / HEINE / MAN RAY / EIFFEL / STEIN / CHOPIN / SCHIELE / ERNST / RIEFENSTAHL / TARKOVSKY / TRUFFAUT / BELLMER / BAUDELAIRE / SONTAG / ÉLUARD / NUREJEV / BÉCAUD / FALCO / TZARA / SCHNITZLER / DEMY / MARCEAU / NIJINSKY / LYOTARD / MORRISON / MERLEAU-PONTY / BERNHARDT / …
The media is inundated with celebrity news and gossip. However, what advice would the famous Dead offer us today? And how would they speak to us?
This new works-on-paper project plays intuitively with the ancient Greek parable. The Oracle was considered to be a person or source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion, sometimes speaking through another object or life form. BORIS+NATASCHA uniquely approach this tradition by transforming the tombstones of the famous Dead into contemporary oracles.
Referring to the old graphic technique of ‘rubbing’, a sheet of handcrafted Mulberry gold paper is placed over the engraved or embossed letters of the Deceased’s tombstone.
Rubbing them with a gold pencil BORIS+NATASCHA create an imprint in the paper, akin to an embossing, hence satirically re-naming the technique, ‘Grave Rubbery’. Mixing up the order of the letters of the name to create new words, this ‘message from beyond’ comes close to an anagram or Scrabble game. In the UK rubbing was used between the 13th and 16th centuries to reproduce commemorative brass plaques found on the floor of churches. In 1925, Max Ernst developed this into a surrealist technique to create random textures for his drawings and paintings, naming it ‘Frottage’ (Fr. frotter, ‘to rub‘).
BORIS+NATASCHA began this project during an Australia Council Paris residency in 2009/10 with Max Ernst’s tombstone. Around Paris they continued with over 40 other ORACLES, amongst them Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Frederic Chopin and Susan Sontag.
The work is timeless and feeds into the thirst for folklore, homage and myth.
Occasionally BORIS+NATASCHA’s stealth is surpassed by the authorities and they are thrown out of cemeteries in the midst of a Grave Rubbing. These works they title,‘Transmission Interrupted’.
BORIS+NATASCHA have discovered that the official language of the Dead is English.
* ‚ORACLE Nite‚, MAK, Vienna / Austria >read more
* ‚Whatever happened to God?‚, Halle.14, Leipzig / Germany >read more
* ‚Whatever happened to God?‚, ACC Weimar / Germany
* ‘Fantômes et Cauchemars’, Espace culturel François Mitterand, Beauvais / France >read more
* ‚Material Convention‚, Grimmuseum, Berlin / Germany >read more
* ‚Scope Art Fair‚, Basel / Switzerland >read more
More infos and images?