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Patrick Staff - The Prince of Homburg

Patrick Staff - The Prince of Homburg Image
This exhibition by British artist Patrick Staff will debut a major video installation and series of sculptural works reinterpreting 19th century German writer Heinrich von Kleist's play The Prince of Homburg.

Opening with a disoriented Prince sleepwalking in royal gardens, the original play, written in 1810, develops by swift degrees into a personal nightmare that draws together questions about the limits of state control versus individual freedom. While often interpreted as an assertion for the might of authority, many consider Kleist's work to be a passionate defence of free will. Kleist's death by joint suicide with his close friend in 1811 contributed to an ongoing fascination with this complex play that continues today.

In their new body of work, Staff reconfigures the play to focus on the symbol of the exhausted, sleepwalking figure as political dissident. Presented across the galleries as a video installation with accompanying sculptural and print works, the exhibition explores cycles of violence, desire and repression that are embedded in contemporary cultural and political crises. Through a range of mediums, Staff explores dream-like transgressions of law and order and the fraught spaces where queer desires manifest.

Through an unconventional narrative structure, Staff's video cuts together a narration of Kleist's play with interviews, conversation, found footage, hand painted animation and song. In a series of fragmented 'daytime' sequences, a range of artists, writers and performers reflect on contemporary queer and trans identity and its proximity to desire and violence. Intercut with flashes of the sun and sky, city streets and text, subjects include Sarah Schulman, Che Gossett, Macy Rodman and Debra Soshoux. Each of these segments is punctuated by 'night-time' diversions, narrated by writer Johanna Hedva in the dual role of both narrator and Prince. Loosely following the structure of Kleist's play, the sleepwalking Prince struggles with his somnambulant habits, and the invasion of the unconscious mind into flesh and bone. In half-remembered dream images, the narrative unfolds through flashes of nocturnal gardens, high visibility reflective clothing, neon signs and a lugubrious ballad.

Throughout the gallery spaces Staff has installed a sculpture resembling the type of decorative, defensive architecture that surrounds many colonial and royal properties. Protruding from the walls of the gallery above head height, objects, lights, fabrics and furniture are impaled and discarded on its teeth. Also on display are a series of new, large scale hand-processed photogram prints, collecting images and objects from The Prince of Homburg that have been developed in complete darkness. Through flashes of coloured light, items such as a lost glove, knives, blades, and chains reveal themselves.

Through a varied, interdisciplinary and often collaborative practice comprising video installation, performance, text and sculpture, Staff considers ideas of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer body. This new work is the product of several years' research and is Staff's most ambitious and large-scale project to date, bringing together languages of film and live performance with sculptural and photographic works to explore how history, technology, capitalism and the law have fundamentally transformed the social constitution of our bodies today.

As part of the first iteration of the project we're excited to further commission two new texts by Isabel Waidner and Johanna Hedva. These will form part of the exhibition and will be available as a gift to take away during the run of the show.

The Prince of Homburg is co-commissioned by Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland, and IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Ireland. Supported by Arts Council England, Elephant Trust, UK, and Commonwealth & Council Gallery, USA. Video work produced by Spike Island, UK. Special thanks to producer Ali Roche and Humber Street Gallery, UK.


About the artist:

Patrick Staff (b.1987, Bognor Regis, England) lives and works in Los Angeles. Their work combines video installation, performance and publishing. They have exhibited extensively, gaining significant recognition and awards for their work which is held in private and public collections internationally. Staff received their BA in Fine Art and Contemporary Critical Studies from Goldsmiths University of London in 2009. They completed the LUX Associate Artists Programme and studied Contemporary Dance at The Place in London, in 2011. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2017); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2017); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2016); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2016); Serpentine Galleries, London (2015); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2015); Tate Liverpool, England (2014); Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles (2012); Tate Modern, London (2012), and Whitstable Biennale, Whitstable, England (2012), among others. Staff's 2017 film work Weed Killer was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Information published by Leisure and Culture Dundee.
Free.
Dates
Thursday 18th July 2019 10:00am
Friday 19th July 2019 10:00am
Saturday 20th July 2019 10:00am
Sunday 21st July 2019 10:00am
Monday 22nd July 2019 10:00am
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 10:00am
Wednesday 24th July 2019 10:00am
Thursday 25th July 2019 10:00am
Friday 26th July 2019 10:00am
Saturday 27th July 2019 10:00am
Sunday 28th July 2019 10:00am
Monday 29th July 2019 10:00am
Tuesday 30th July 2019 10:00am
Wednesday 31st July 2019 10:00am
Thursday 1st August 2019 10:00am
Friday 2nd August 2019 10:00am
Saturday 3rd August 2019 10:00am
Sunday 4th August 2019 10:00am
Monday 5th August 2019 10:00am
Tuesday 6th August 2019 10:00am
Wednesday 7th August 2019 10:00am
Thursday 8th August 2019 10:00am
Friday 9th August 2019 10:00am
Saturday 10th August 2019 10:00am
Sunday 11th August 2019 10:00am
Monday 12th August 2019 10:00am
Tuesday 13th August 2019 10:00am
Wednesday 14th August 2019 10:00am
Thursday 15th August 2019 10:00am
Friday 16th August 2019 10:00am
Saturday 17th August 2019 10:00am
Sunday 18th August 2019 10:00am
Monday 19th August 2019 10:00am
Tuesday 20th August 2019 10:00am
Wednesday 21st August 2019 10:00am
Thursday 22nd August 2019 10:00am
Friday 23rd August 2019 10:00am
Saturday 24th August 2019 10:00am
Sunday 25th August 2019 10:00am
Monday 26th August 2019 10:00am
Tuesday 27th August 2019 10:00am
Wednesday 28th August 2019 10:00am
Thursday 29th August 2019 10:00am
Friday 30th August 2019 10:00am
Saturday 31st August 2019 10:00am
Sunday 1st September 2019 10:00am
Venue
152 Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4DY
01382 909 900
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