Performance VON MÄRCHEN UND GESPENSTER    



    Cologne

Concept   It is August 9, 1333 when Francesco Petrarca [1303-1374] expresses his astonishment and amazement over a ceremony in a letter to Johannes Colonna, Cardinal of the Church of Rome.

Apparently every year, on June 21, during the night watch of John the Baptist, all the women from Cologne gather on the banks of the River Rhine in order to wash away a whole year's misery, disaster and calamity. It was said that the women of Cologne owned their soft and fair skin to the beneficial water of the River Rhine. As a consequence, this special water was called Keuls Water, Kölnisch Wasser, eau de Cologne, which from then up to this very day has been sold as perfume to women from all over the world. However, we cannot be certain whether the river still produces water that is as beneficial as it was in Petrarca's days, and some even say that there are more refined scents nowadays ...

The report of Petrarca is the point of departure for performance 'Von Märchen und Gespenstern' which takes place on the day summer begins. Wrapped in bandages I take a bath in the River Rhine. These bandages are to protect me from pollution that is invisibly present in the water of the river, but also in the evil and malady of our world. The river of life moves us and leads us upstream and downhill. Does the re-enactment of this ritual give us meaningful insights in ourselves, and the place we occupy in this world?
Beforehand two quarter-circles have been marked by blue cones, lights and bandages on both sides of the
  path that leads downhill to the water of the River Rhine at 689,5 Rhine km, on the right bank of the river. The bank and the path from the bank to the water are covered with blue cloth. Amidst the path there one can detect a small bundle of clothes. On every side of the path, in the middle of each quarter-circle, there is a bundle of sticks. In front of the water of the river is a self-built safety construction, consisting of rubber ties and boards, Ø 300 cm. The performance begins the moment I have rung the bell and descend the path that leads to the river. I stop at the bundle clothes and get dressed in a silver wet suit, white socks and white handkerchiefs. Then the lights that mark the circles are lit and two nurses begin to wrap me up in bandages, the drums start to beat ..

Totally wrapped up and my head covered with white lace, I am guided into the rubber construction. From that moment on, it is only the river and me - me and the river. As soon as I manage to reach the middle of the river, the drums stop and the lace is pulled from my head and taken into the free air by means of a balloon. At the bank of the river two open fires are lit.

The drums begin to beat again and I fight the current on my way back to the bank of the River Rhine. Once ashore, the two nurses help me out of the rubber construction and begin to unwrap the bandages. These bandages are left to dry in the shape of a spiral around each of the two fires. The moment I am unwrapped and undressed the drums stop and I walk up the hill to ring the bell as a sign that the performance is over.
 

Timeline   25|9 1994 - 2|4 1995
  The video-registration of the performance is point of departure for installation Unter der Laterne that is built for exhibition Stadt der Frauen, Frauenmuseum, Bonn (D).
 

    4|9 - 6|9 1992
  Overview 90-92 The raft construction and the bandages are used in Rotterdam, NE - studio's (NL) (solo)  

    21|6 1992
  Performance Von Märchen und Gespenster Tanzbrunnen, Cologne (D) (solo)