Die Tödliche Doris
How are you now?
Opening reception | 7 February | 20:00
Wolfgang Müller will be present.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the ninth volume of Die Tödliche Doris’s writings will be published: Das Werkverzeichnis.
It can be ordered for 12 euro plus delivery fee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The camera is wandering around the block, taking our eyes with it; it’s 1987 and we’re somewhere in New York City. On a street corner, the camera discovers a young woman in a yellow dress, comes to a halt and loses itself in the fabric’s yellow texture. The film is called Eine Frau zur selben Zeit an einem anderen Ort [A woman: same time, different place]. It is confusing: what is this different place or whose place is it supposed to be?
In fact, the title hints at Die Tödliche Doris’s invisible LP No. 5, which only comes into existence when their albums sechs and Unser Debut are played simultaneously. The track “Eine Frau zur selben Zeit an einem anderen Ort” on sechs corresponds musically, lyrically, and down to the second with the track “Noch 14 Vorstellungen” on Unser Debut. The super 8 mm film came about during a visit to New York; the Museum of Modern Art had invited Die Tödliche Doris. Their performance was part of the series “Noch 14 Vorstellungen” [Another 14 Appearances], which Die Tödliche Doris had already started staging in 1984. The costumes in which Nikolaus Utermöhlen, Wolfgang Müller, Käthe Kruse, and Tabea Blumenschein performed were designed by Blumenschein, made up in part by red and yellow ready-to-wear dresses from Berlin’s Maybachufer textile market. The men stuffed the dresses into their trousers, making them look like shirts.
It’s one of these dresses that we encounter in the super 8 mm film made in New York. The yellow dress remained with the mysterious young dancer, whereas the other three dresses have, since 1991, formed part of the work Sesselgruppe Kleid, which has featured in various exhibitions. By 1991 Die Tödliche Doris had however long since dissolved in white wine. On the group of chairs three empty dresses are seated, not yet entirely limp and empty, but also not quite alive. Other pieces of clothing included in “Noch 14 Vorstellungen”, undershirts and underpants, ended up as lampshades. They remind one of the remains of dead animals, skin and fur, which have been used to cover furniture. At the same time, however, one can identify Doris’s transient character, taking the form of everyday things – posing as mundane seating, as an armchair or lamp – as it possesses three or four bodies, then strips them off again in exchange for something else, and now, perhaps as a stuffed dress draped on a chair, lying in wait for the next suitable form.
Photographs: Francisco Valença Vaz