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Play Opposite or Ubu Roi Disseminated
Performance after Saâdane Afif 


Neue Galerie Graz, Hauptplatz

Saâdane Afif, Play Opposite (poster), 2015

Ubu Roi is the first play in a trilogy of burlesque satires in which Alfred Jarry articulates a fierce critique of the power, authority and greed of the bourgeoisie. With their childish madness and humor, Jarry’s plays contradicted the social and cultural conventions of the time and opened the floodgates for the avant-garde aesthetics of the 20th century. Ubu Roi, a work of revolutionary force, is considered by many to be a precursor of Dadaism, Surrealism and a masterpiece of the absurd.

For the 6th Moscow Biennale, Saâdane Afif used Ubu Roi to produce Play Opposite, a performance that plays with the codes of political and commercial street propaganda. Afif had Ubu Roi translated into Russian and printed the translation in sequence on 700 A5-sized flyers, one for each line of dialog in the play. These stacks of flyers were then distributed by volunteers as part of the daily events in and around the Biennale. In the hands of a random audience, the fragmented” dialogues of the play, isolated from their context, became absurd slogans that were given a new poetic charge. A new edition of the performance will take place as part of the exhibition RIDICULOUSLY YOURS! at the Hauptplatz in Graz.

Saâdane Afif, Play Opposite (poster), 2015