I know many Artists who just don't trust spoken language and in turn reinvent a new language using images and performative actions. Marcel Sparmann is one such Artist, persisting over and over gain with the possibilities of creating a new poetic expression which we are all able to engage with, irrespective of our national or cultural origins. In this way he is truly international.
Sparmann's performance vocabulary is drawn from the domestic, that common emotional space we call the home, with ritualistic objects like wine glasses, bread, dinner plates, chocolate, candles, etc. The home has tremendous relevance to the present fragility of humankind. It is a sanctuary of collective memories, a nurturing environment, protecting itself (and its members) from a potentially hostile world.
In "Pressing Times", Sparmann tackles the fragility of the home as an emotional and ritualistic environment. And as members within the home, how our own personal vulnerability can be exposed and unsettled within this homely and safe place. The performance gives an allusion of an intimate setting with an affable host which is quickly turned around to become uncomfortable and threatening. A constant flux is created between settling and unsettling.
This is a political statement where the voices within the "home" become empowered to go beyond the ego itself, as a social understanding of compassion and kindness. In the words of the Artist ...."If you are not able to care for the person next to you, you can't do art, you are not an artist." This truth refers to the idea of the home as a temporary community, positioned within our potentially hostile world.
In this piece for the 3rd Venice International Performance Art Week, Sparmann creates an intense and implicit situation, an emotional reality utilising powerful choreography and domestic items like a table with several wine glasses on it, thin white threads, which are attached individually on a wooden door and are leading to two wooden cloth-hangers lying on the floor, and a small electric stove plate with a pot of water. The piece has a narrative which we as audience are asked to co-create but no-one will participate which makes the piece more powerful and with greater emotional tension as we, the audience, trust him to play out his narrative. This makes the performer quite vulnerable but also more focused to deploy a powerful physical action.
We the audience are acknowledged as the co-creators of this fragile and emotionally charged reality. In this intimate space we witness this assemblage of temporary artefacts and the human body as a "dynamic reference point in flux". This flux of confusion is never leading or resolving into something, it just is what it is. In the end we feel we must answer his question: "How do we continue the performance", as if we could give meaning to this shared reality.