Sunny Pfalzer is a performance artist. Organizing protests and establishing communities has always been a key part of her life and practice. Pfalzer researches how we can find new approaches to political action. At the center of her work is an exploration of strategies in cultures of protest and activism, whereby she addresses various global and historical phenomena of commons resistance. In their choreographies and performances, which often take place unannounced in public, masked bodies move across historically prominent locations and monuments, together forming shapes and creatures whose existence, like our general social body, is dependent on each other. The use of poetic elements in which the bodies move slowly or linger also plays an important role. Last year Pfalzer worked with Marshall Vincent, an American R&B and pop singer, songwriter, and composer, creating the performative play Rub your face onto your shoulder, a work that changes with every performance. Vincent’s music and texts describe and explore concepts of love, happiness, suffering, and melancholia.
How can you bring back the physical memory of an embrace? Rub your face onto your shoulder (2021 – ongoing), a performative installation presented within the series Give Rise To… at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, tells stories about togetherness, vandalism, and romanticism. The installation consists of textile objects and an audio meditation. The materials of these objects were originally worn as clothing by six actors during Pfalzer’s performance Hold a Ghost(2020÷21), when they protested, flirted, played, and danced in them. Then the clothes were cut into pieces and sewn together again as cloth sculptures that invite the audience to stop and look. These objects thus bear a memory of the bodies that once wore them. Instead of moving along a street, in Rub your face onto your shoulder these bodies are now at peace. The performative aspect of the work consists of a number of exercises that are also used in contemporary dance in order to increase the dancers’ sensitivity for their own bodies. While Pfalzer communicates with the audience, the space is filled with Vincent’s music. The two alternate in an organic flow, creating an open situation characterized by collective participation and experience. In this work, the dimension of the political is not only contained in the narrative element that tells of protesting bodies but also in the active decision to create a space for lingering and contemplation where it is possible to slow down and feel your own body and the bodies of others.
Curated by Cathrin Mayer
Sunny Pfalzer (b. 1991 in Vienna, lives in Berlin and Ternitz) is a performance and fine artist. She studied performative art under Carola Dertnig at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her most recent presentations include Kunsthalle Vienna; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Galerie Wedding – Room for contemporary Art, Berlin; Radialsystem, Berlin; Shedhalle, Zurich; Les Urbaines, Lausanne; Wiener Festwochen; ATAR Museum, Tel Aviv-Yafo; GAM, Santiago de Chile.
Marshall Vincent is an R&B and pop singer, songwriter, and composer. He has performed in the program of the magazine High Snobiety; the TV Channel Arte; CTM, Berlin; Creepy Teepee, Kutná Hora; Creamcake Berlin; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin;. His last EP, In No Particular Order, was published in 2021 by SA Recordings, London, and in the same year he issued the remix Saving Face with Gaika.