Artist Statement from Nadja Verena Marcin

Through my practice, I want to look beneath the surface of human interaction. My performance-based work, whether presented in video, photography or live settings, confronts elemental emotions and unleashes psychological mechanisms, examining inherent authorities in morals, culture, history, politics and behavior.

Each role that I take on explores the redundancy and necessity in behavioral norms. I start from autobiographical experience, shaping it through a process of exaggeration, reduction, infliction and re-contextualization. My performances use the vocabulary of theatre, film, documentary and body art, blurring lines between genre to take a situation from ordinary to absurd and re-articulate conventions.

In German, we say "Bevor Du den Mund aufmachst, kehre mal or deiner eigenen Tür." That means, "Before you open our mouth, you should sweep your own front door." In executing roles using my own body, voice and appearance, I am beginning from my own front door. Starting with a script of action and dialogue, I act out a narrative that incorporates hand-made costumes, body attachments and sculptural props. I work with actors with whom I have assigned specific roles, whereas my own exercise of each role is based on a state of flexibility, spontaneity, uncertainty and intuition.

For example, in a performance called “Love's Surrogates,” I stood on a cupboard in the foyer of a school and jumped over a trampoline onto a gigantic dog sculpture. Between jumps, I delivered a speech about „The Girl's“ childhood, revealing her family power dynamics and the struggles of her intimate life to four hundred viewers. My intention was that an atmosphere of tension establishes that challenges the viewer to take a position on „The Girl's“ experiences, and in this way become part of the piece. Another work, called “Street,” was a series of guerilla interventions in public spaces in which I confronted passerby with absurd, childlike actions that exposed inherent ideas about gender, history, race and politics, fomenting challenging situations and exchanges.

Driven by positive and deeply romantic ideals, I break down complex situations into experiences that are at once absurd, humorous, direct, imperfect, transparent, timely and, I mirror the contradictions of our human interrelations and reveal basic human necessities.