The exhibition is the first in the programme of Fatima Hellberg and marks the opening of a new space designed by Simon Jones Studio at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.
Container and Contained reflects on inwardness and authority. At its centre is a new structure: a purpose-built space to be configured and reconfigured for various iterations of the live moment. The space, designed by Simon Jones Studio and dedicated to performance and performativity in an expanded sense, opens its one-year programme with a specifically commissioned work by writer and artist Gregg Bordowitz. Part-performance, part-lecture, Bordowitz’ work reflects on terms of interiority and entrapment, and follows his long-running concerns with the structure and politics of writing and speaking from inside oneself.
The question of a method which contains its own fragility, or collapse, and the need for a mental space for further ideas which may yet be developed, returns in the works included in the exhibition. The title itself – Container and Contained – makes reference to the work of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion (1897–1979) on inwardness and structure, and his insistence on a space ‘behind’ the surface manifestations which strike our sensory and perceptual systems.
In the exhibition, Julia Heyward’s rarely screened part-film, part-performance from 1976, Shake Daddy Shake explores the body as a vessel, able to channel and to be spoken through, concerns that run through Stephen Sutcliffe’s sardonic video loop, A Policeman is Walking (2009). The moving image work of Brice Dellsperger’s Body Double 23 unfolds in black space with a lip-synced and heavily mannered performance of the film’s victim as she passes, in Dellsperger’s words, “from anonymity to celebrity, from life to death,” whilst the sculptural work of late Hong Kong artist Antonio Mak grapples, through humour and pathos, with the divided self. Filmmaker and musician Tony Conrad’s minimal sculptural installation Untitled (2014), reflects on terms of confinement and transparency and Josephine Pryde’s photographic series It’s Not My Body pushes the image and fantasy of the interior being into a space of affect and science fiction.