Street, Play, Way
Artist. Ulla von Brandenburg
Organisation. The Biennale of Sydney
Ulla von Brandenburg – b. 1974 in Karlsruhe, Germany. Lives and works in Paris, France.
Street, Play, Way (2014) was presented at the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire in 2014. The work combines von Brandenburg’s interest in film, installation and performance. In Street, Play, Way the viewer traverses a walkway of undulating stairs and draped sails, parting and pulling back these curtains as they move toward a video exploring rituals and uncanny occurrences. The extended and physical experience that the viewer undergoes in approaching the video is an important facet of the work.
Street, Play, Way explores the idea of the stranger-in-our-midst narrative with von Brandenburg’s interest in the street as a microcosmic family or community.
Von Brandenburg is fascinated by mechanisms of theatre such as stairs and curtains, these devices recur often in her work. The curtain can function as a maze or a mirror, not only dividing two worlds but blurring them together. Viewers may contemplate whether they are spectators or actors, active or passive, as they move through the work.
Von Brandenburg’s use of stairs on the other hand represents connections between high and low. Stairs can provide an exploration of tension and suspension, as well as form representations of power.
Von Brandenburg works at the intersection of film, drawing, installation and performance. She creates highly imaginative and poetic works that reveal her background and interest in both fine art and theatre design.
Commissioned for the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, Street, Play, Way (2014) was a new, large-scale, site-specific work realised by von Brandenburg on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. The 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire was curated by Juliana Engberg in 2014. The Keir Foundation is delighted to have been a commissioning partner for this work.