By Helmut Ploebst

However a new season starts, the beginning should be contradictory. Just as today, on September 27, 2018, for the author of this text with Alix Eynaudi’s unnamed – or nameless – dance solo in Olaf Nicolai’s art gallery installation There is No Place Before Arrival.


Two hours before the start it was not clear if a visit would be possible. Even during the performance, it was in the stars, whether a reflection on the work should arise. And while arriving by subway this rush of indignation over contract performance – “Can you imagine making an intervention in our exhibition XY?” – in general.


Nicolai had commissioned some street painters to draw or paint pictures from various newspapers on the floor of the exhibition hall on the first floor. Their quality is as good as devastating, but it must have been a fabulous performance to watch the artists painting. Their different way of putting these (commissioned) works to the ground, how they are using their tools and how they move, how much that is a process, a choreography – all that the author introduces himself as soon as he has sat down and Eynaudi slowly enters the scene on all fours.


Presence through absence


It is not as alone as performers are, if they only have the company of their audience. Although this loneliness is often great to look at, because it reflects a social reality. Eynaudi, however, enters the eerily perceptible absence of the painters who have left their pictures, that is to say, never give up their own works until their traces are erased. The dancer moves on a large, blurred picture. Her black clothes, her hands and feet are soon stained with the colors. This figure stirs up the picture. The image, on the other hand, widens itself onto its body, changes itself in the process and gains its own unrecognizability: the blurring image sets in motion because the dancer does not integrate herself because she denies all inclusion in relation to the two-dimensionality.


So, according to the author of this text, it would be an underestimation of this event, to overestimate the characteristics of the images on the floor of the exhibition hall, because they represent just show and backdrop painting. Accordingly, the event would not only be Eynaudi’s dance and the ghostly perceptible absence of the painters, but Nicolai’s process composition: the transfer of mass media origins and publications into kunstmediale. Eynaudi takes this composition to the extreme, because it drives one of the floor images into the visuality of its performance and thus into another medium.


Read the body while reading


Standing, the dancer wipes her feet over the colors in a brief moment, swings her foot up into the palm of her hand, and holds her palm in front of her eyes, as if she were talking about reading the picture. A comment. A footnote. So the body is involved in reading if it is not rushed. Alix Eynaudi takes her time, and she never loses concentration. It thereby resolves the initial reluctance of the recipient – and then author of this text – who can not keep his eyes off her movement text, whose lines the dancer draws through his perception.


This also suspends the writer’s unwillingness to accept the performance of this event. He must take note of this in the subway during the reading of the exhibition accompanying the exhibition. In the booklet, Nicolai quotes a quote from Lucretius on the image that the dancer probably danced, which the author quotes from his own edition of De rerum natura (Berlin, 2014): “All colors, without exception, change and everything that changes color also changes itself. […] So beware of ascribing color to the primordial elements, all of a sudden, without exception, everything could fall to nothing. ”


A picture book start


So let’s face it: the author has a penchant a) for booklets and b) for source comparisons. Furthermore, he has a weakness for art, which remains a mystery without a booklet, for conceptual art anyway, even for the serious sort. Alix Eynaudi gave him a picture book season start on Olaf Nicolai. But that’s not as important as the fact that this nameless dance was a conclusive work of art.