In the bustling street life around Brunkebergspassagen Men and Women appear out of nowhere. Stockholm Cultural Festival 2009 is arranged for the fifth year in a row and is expected in the normal manner to be visited by a solid festival audience. This year's festival offers 300 unique points along a bustling festival area and includes two art installations by Performing Picture´s Geska Helena Brecevic and Robert Brecevic.
The Stockholm-based artist duo sets up responsive video installations (movies-that-answers-on-appeal) in the streets, in shop windows, lounges and malls. Men that fall, Women that turn, Kids on slide and Kids that lift are some of the characters that can appear when Performing Pictures & family are visiting.
A man stands with a grocery bag in hand and a teddy bear in his arm. He stands there in full view, staring at the ground in front of him. When you approach him, he looks up and meets your stare. And if you dare to go even closer, or maybe lift your hand to greet him, then he falls back and stays lying on his back on the floor.
A woman in a clergyman’s gown stands with her back to you. It’s a little impolite to sneak up on people, of course, so you approach her carefully, and she twists herself expectantly, maybe due to discomfort? Then nothing more happens. She still stands there, facing the other way. You finally walk away. Then, suddenly, she turns around and holds your stare. Or wait now, was it she who drove you away through her turning? Every artwork is made in series with up to ten different characters.
The plot is the same, the characters’ poses and gestures are as well. The men fall, the women turn. In this way one goes beyond the specific individual in each character and focuses on its inherent meaning. The works pose questions about our expectations and notions of being “man” or “woman”. Sometimes with political punching power, sometimes with fantasy-filled imaginary play, sometimes with effective use of metaphors and always with great human warmth.