Die Ausreißerin, photo installation in collaboration with Pauli Scharlach, part of The Burnt Letters of Victoria group show at the Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim (Neuenhaus, DE), 2022

Photos by Jens Gerber

Francois Pisapia and Pauli Scharlach collaborated in creating Die Ausreißerin (The Runaway) (2020), especially for the exhibition: a photographic collage expanding across the Kunstverein’s ten meters long wall, featuring Scharlach in the role of an undercover detective/runaway bride/secret agent of some sort. She wanders around the strip on the backdrop made of pastoral images of suburban white heteronormative fantasies—green loans, picket fences, smiling blond children. The filmic qualities of the work evolve sequentially as one moves across the wall, encountering repetitions and glitches. Scharlach’s cutout figure is contrasted on this background, emphasising her displacement as she explores small-town realities through her performative otherness. Who is she? They ask. What is she planning? And what is she wearing???

Pisapia also performed a collection from his slide-show readings on the opening night. Not unlike the Die Ausreißerin (The Runaway) sequence, Pisapia’s reading rearranges the visual material and re-exposes it in new lights. Against the backdrop of found images depicting fantasies of belonging, plotting and security, Pisapia, in his reading and together with Scharlach in their collage work, intervenes with these imaginaries and superimposes them with gentle, humorous and transgressive interruptions. Or do these interventions, in fact, reveal the things that were there all along? Is the picket-fenced existence the perverse one? Pisapia’s bewitching voice guides us through a meditation on socialisation and control, recolouring the known imagery presented through a poetic and misfit wanderer’s gaze: “Fenced-up plots of asphalt. Dried up moats, body size. Put this heavy heart out to dry”.

review by Ben Livne-Weitzman in PASSE-AVANT – read full article