Like in avant-garde film, among the characteristics elements in Performance art are the questioning of and reflection on one´s own genre as well as the uncovering of the media´s imminent parameters. Still images, live sound, and clear, minimal settings represent characteristic, recognizable features of performances, which from the start were staged for the camera. These features also, no least, accompany the history of video as a medium. With Dégueulasse, Carola Dertnig refers both formally and in terms of content to facets of the history of performance, which she not only enters, but also attempts to continue.
Dégueulasse comprises a ten-minute, precisely framed take: positioned statically, it captures the events on stage from a slightly left-aligned perspective. In a triple, formally minimalist framing of light and shadow, Dertnig - standing in an indoor market in Vienna - paraphrases instructions for a performative set up. She alternately utters instructions, questions, and mnemonics: "Ideas are one thing, and what happens to them is another thing." Or, "If you do one thing for two minutes and you find it boring, do it for four minutes." Dégueulasse contains, along with text passages that she wrote herself, fragments of quotes by the choreographer Simone Forti or nouvelle vague classic À bout de souffle by Jean-Luc Godard, as well as movement sequences from Yvonne Rainer´s dance video Trio A. But it is not the quotations themselves that Dertnig shifts to the forefront, or tries to decode. Instead, she generates the value of her work through an elegant collage of her own props and those from a variety of different contexts, which - combined in a new way - withdraw from causal interpretation.
"Qu´est-ce que c´est Dégueulasse?" asks Patricia Franchini alias Jean Seberg alias Carola Dertnig - and not only Godard´s film leaves the recipients to come up with their own explanatory statement. Entirely in keeping with dialectics, with Dertnig, too, a possible answer is defined, in part, through the respective roles or attitudes.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt