Feb 22, 2020 · 2:12 PM

Date 2015
Measurements 2 parts: various dimensions
Technique/material Chlorine on cotton canvas, wood
Credit Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Purchase made possible by Club Fonds Konkret
Inv. no. SK16023
Ulla von Brandenburg

Folds and Compass

The large-scale installations by the German painter and installation and video artist Ulla von Brandenburg (born 1974 in Karlsruhe, Germany) consist of stagy, theatrical elements that lure us into a surreal world. These staged installations rely on different forms of representation from the late 19th century and early modernism and combine light opera with tableaux vivants, paper cuts, and black and white films. In these films, the dialogue is sung and mysterious plots are performed, all the while integrating many different references to the history of culture, ranging from visual art, literature, psychoanalysis, theater, and photography, to the world of the circus. In this way, they become part of the overall theatrical and spatial situations featuring theater curtains, stage architecture, or wall paintings. Their visual axes form an austere compositional structure that is juxtaposed with the pretentious and mannerist poses and theatrical gestures. Theater curtains are also an important feature in von Brandenburg’s two-dimensional works. The work “Folds and Compass,” which is now part of the collection, for example, consists of a remarkably realistic picture of a blue curtain, accompanied by a gigantic drawing compass leaning against it.
Mirrors and shadows are key motifs in Ulla von Brandenburg’s work, and she explores these in the form of paper cuts, shadow play, and other techniques that she uses to sound out different levels of reality, as well as the threshold between reality and appearance. The mirror as a recurring metaphor stands for the visual and performing arts, and theater can be understood in her work as holding up a mirror to the reality of our lives. Her spatial installations with integrated films thus have the feel of a hall of mirrors. Each time Ulla von Brandenburg exposes an image as an illusion, a shadow, or a reflection, a new equally multifaceted image is created. The metaphors in her works thus symbolize the connection between theater and life, or theater and reality, while also epitomizing graphic reflections on existential, societal, and historical questions. According to her own words, she is primarily interested in all things ephemeral. With this in mind, and faithful to her motto “we don’t need art forever,” her wall paintings are intended to last only for the duration of an exhibition.

Dominique von Burg




With financial support by:

Lotteriefonds Canton of Zurich

Baugarten Stiftung
Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Dr. Adolph Streuli-Stiftung
Stiftung Kunstsammlung Albert und Melanie Rüegg



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Feb 22, 2020
2:00:00 PM CET