“Edelweiß”- A riddle by Alix Eynaudi in Tanzquartier Vienna.

Helmut Ploebst for Der Standart.


The blossoming brand of Austria

Vienna- What is the name of this song? “Auf dem Berge dort oben/ Blühst so rein/ Klein und fein…”

Exactly: Edelweiß.

It happened to be in the year 1959 that it has been sung solely in English (“ev’ry morning you greet me”) in the musical The Sound Of Music.

After Yosi Wanunu and The Loose Collective, Alix is the third voice of the Austrian dance and performing art scene that addresses Austria through her work.  Her piece Edelweiß – a danced rebus premiered at TQW over the weekend.

Eynaudi (39) comes from France and has been a dancer in the company of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for seven years. A few years ago she moved to Vienna. With her new piece she is perhaps now delivering – together with Alice Chauchat, Mark Lorimer and Cecile Tonizzo – a special Merci for what she has experienced here so far. In “Osterlich” (as Austria is called in the film The Great Dictator by Charles Chaplin) one reckons that The Sound Of Music is a subtle revenge of the Americans towards this historic breeding ground of national-socialism. The film, anyway, came onto the market in 1965, exactly twenty years after the costly triumph over the NS-Regime.

The choreographed picture-puzzle by Alix Eynaudi contains allusions to Austria that are entangled with its image. Soft as the blossoms of the Edelweiß are partly the costumes (An Breugelmann) that are based on the  reform dresses of Emilie Flöge and in reference to Gustav Klimt. His paintings are likewise a part of the brand Austria. One can speculate about the meaning of the important motives; fishes, a (…) curtain behind which much is camouflaged, and the music of Luc Ferrari and Edgar Varese, underlined with whispering voices and birds’ twittering.

Against usefulness.

Autobiographical elements can be recognized through the representation of a child on a pedestal box and a wooden sculpture in form of a mother stork that is feeding her child.

Alix is dancing with this object with notable care. She became a mother here.

She is standing on the pedestal and holding, in front of herself, a drawing of circular stairs that are leading into a dark profundity – or out of one. At one point, only the choreographed spotlights (Bruno Pocheron) are performing on the abandoned stage. Then, cuts of light appear on a dark background in the style of the famous “Tagli-Bildern” by Lucio Fontana.

Edelweiß is a statement towards performing arts that are more and more compelled to be useful, participatory and integrative. Fine, if art makers do it voluntarily – but the obligation from the outside is totalitarian. Eynaudi is resisting it, justifiably.