Kappenberg, Claudia (2007) Extreme Ironing 7th Biennale at Darmstadt, Volelfrei, Germany.
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'Extreme Ironing' is a site-specific performance conceived for Vogelfrei, the 7th Biennale in Darmstadt, which takes place in streets and gardens of the city. As a result of her earlier project 'Flush', (output 1) Kappenberg was invited to participate in this year’s Biennale by German performer and video artist, Ute Ritchel, founder of the Biennale and international curator. Using silent gestures and movements of the everyday, her works perform absurd repetitions and impossible tasks. Her research is centred on minimal choreographies and is generally conceived for particular sites, or reconfigured in response to the particularities of place. 'Extreme Ironing' takes its title from a new sport, whereby people undertake to iron clothes in adventurous locations. This element of Kappenberg’s research is concerned with an investigation of domestic ritual: autumn leaves are gathered and ironed before being returned to the gardens from where they came. He work plays down spectacle and instead explores the role of the artist and the individual within a wider socio-cultural context. For the intervention a small temporary greenhouse was installed in a large private garden, housing the artist and the ironing board as well as allowing members of the public to come and watch and discuss the work. The intervention purposely collides the everyday and absurd. The ironing of leaves is a loving gesture repeated endlessly, and through the repetition the work becomes a game that defies traditional economic logic. Within the inevitability of the seasonal decay the work creates a modest and playful interlude. The Vogelfrei Biennale has become an important art event of the Rhein-Main region since its conception in 1995, with the participation of rising numbers of international artists, including in 2007, 46 artists from eight countries (Argentina, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Israel, Canada, Netherlands and the USA).
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