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Ulla von Brandenburg

December 5, 2013 – January 22, 2014
4:00 – 10:00 PM daily
High Line Channel 14, 14th Street Passage on the High Line at West 14th Street

Ulla von Brandenburg makes drawings, videos, performances, and installations that focus on the theme of theater as a fictional construct. In her installations, von Brandenburg often screens her video works within constructed architectural environments that reference the dramatic arts, such as Harlequin-patterned tents or cascading red curtains. Her videos often resemble tableaux vivants, a popular form of entertainment in nineteenth-century Europe. By employing the theatrical vocabulary of fin-de-siècle Europe and infusing it with romantic angst, von Brandenburg creates a critical commentary of the anxieties and uncertainties of contemporary society through the lens of history.

For the High Line, von Brandenburg presents her video Shadowplay. The black-and-white work depicts a shadow theater, featuring two men and a woman in nineteenth-century costume that move behind a screen. Rather than speak or act, they lip-synch to the singing of an off-stage choir, producing a feeling of remove and alienation. The poetic song lacks narrative progression, yet is infused with melancholic subtext. Shadowplay diverges from traditional shadow puppetry in that the silhouetted characters are actually real actors. Screened in the semi-enclosed 14th Street Passage, Shadowplay emphasizes the threshold between reality and fiction.

Photos by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

Ulla von Brandenburg

Ulla von Brandenburg (b. 1974, Germany) lives and works in Paris. Recent solo exhibitions include Secession, Vienna (2013); Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg (2013); Pilar Corrias, London (2012); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2009); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); and Kunstverein, Düsseldorf (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Film as Sculpture, WIELS, Brussels (2013); 1966-79, Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne (2013); Tools for Conviviality, The Power Plant, Toronto (2012); Intense Proximité, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Secret Societies. To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silence, CAPC Bordeaux (2011); Un’Espressione Geografica, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2011); and the Biennale de Lyon, Lyon (2011).


Presented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art commissions and produces public art projects on and around the High Line. Founded in 2009, High Line Art presents a wide array of artwork including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator & Director of High Line Art, and produced by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the uniqueness of the architecture, history, and design of the High Line and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape.

High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and the Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, with additional funding provided by David Zwirner Gallery, and Vital Projects Fund, Inc. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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