ENCHANTING AMAZONS IN BERLIN
Why always look straight ahead? Just because theaters been dictating a strict gaze ahead for the last 2500 years?
Helena Waldmann no longer believes in the central perspective as the only-true theatrical method. In her medial-visual installations, she well and truly stirs up the order of the gaze.
... So finally the gaze goes mad with its own desire, because ultimately the nudity remains hidden, aggressive and bloodthirsty. No one realy knows if they've seen everything.
Franz Anton Cramer ballet international/tanz aktuell 10/00
COPIES OF NAKED SKIN UNDER KIMONOS
As always in Waldmann’s shows, the audience is part of an experimental arrangement of things: they’re voyeurs on the one hand, while their own curiosity is being observed on the other. What Helena Waldmann stages with the aid of her audience is the interplay of seduction and power, superficiality and truth, the media version of things and the reality of them. Shadows, mirrors and projections shake our normal perception of things, force us to question, open up new ways of looking at things. This manipulation of our way of viewing reveals the beautiful world of appearances for what it is: a charming, stage-managed lie, a sublime form of terrorism.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 7.10.00
KILLER GEISHA GIRLS
Helena Waldmann aims to lay bare the world of fashion. The posing on one side, the mercilessness of the gazes to which the models are exposed on the other, are conveyed by the garments commissioned by artist Alba D’Urbano and which denounce the marketability of the (female) body. Instead of flowers or patterns, she had the fabric printed with photos of parts of the body. The three dancers stretch out towards the onlookers and look them boldly in the eye – the only difference between them and real models is when their lipstick slips. At the end, one of them walks virtually naked down the catwalk, dressed only in two strips of flesh. There’s no denying that this ”catwalk banquet” is perfectly staged and flawless in composition.
Dirk Fuhrig, Frankfurter Rundschau 30.9.00
KILLER GEISHA GIRLS DANCE EROTICALLY OVER A GLAMOROUS FEASTING TABLE
The overwhelming thing about ”see and be scene” is not so much the body language as such, but the intellectualised relationship with theatre.
Marcus Hladek, Frankfurter Neue Presse 30.9.00
DINNER FOR EVERYONE
Helena Waldmann groups the audience around the catwalk for a banquet as if she were celebrating a Last Supper of the Vanities. The sloughing of the three dancers’ outer shell is horrible to witness. Curiously provocative and lustful, they lean down towards the audience until, with an abrupt grabbing of their necks, they’re seemingly hanged in their own robes. This is no Munchhausen-like trick to save themselves, but an image of dying angels who laboriously cast off their outer skins. Beneath them is a na-kedness which, in the form of sexual organs printed on costumes by New Media artist Alba D’Urbano, gives merely an appearance of naturalness – as natural as the nakedness that is presented daily by the media as being genuine. Waldmann demonstrates how false and destructive this intimacy is through her dancers’ continued sloughing. At the end, the women carry their final skin off the catwalk tied up in small bundles.
Antje Schmelcher, Die Welt 1.8.00
PICTURE PUZZLES AND PEEPING TOMS
At the start of the performance, the onlookers tend to concentrate on the mirrors that are everywhere, and in which one can see either the models, oneself or the other voyeurs reflected. This play with the background also leaves it up to the audience to decide what their role is in this marketing spectacle: accelerators or victims of development? It’s all a question of perspective. Intelligent play with perspectives is a speciality of the Frankfurt-based choreographer, who’s currently ”artist in residence” at the Podewil for a season
Christiane Kühl, TAZ Berlin, 29./30.7.00
GEISHA GIRLS, KILLER GIRLS
Helena Waldmann even stages the regard of the observer: It can make you feel highly uncomfortable. Producer Waldmann is a master of the media-istic play of desire and delay; she plays with the illusion of seduction, the seductive power of illusion – and socks the onlooker in the eye. Waldmann’s artistic strategy and the actions of dancers Kazue Ikeda, Yoko Tani and Chia-Yin Ling expose the theatre of seduction as being pure stage-managed superficiality.
Sandra Luzina, Tagesspiegel Berlin July 27,2000