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'O OVO E A FIGURA' by Wieland Schönfelder at Kunsthalle Freeport, Porto

Barnabuccio: Freedom now rules beauty. Nature provided beauty of form, the soul provides the beauty of play. Now we also know what grace is. Grace is beauty of form under freedom’s influence, the beauty of those appearances that the person determines.

from „L‘uovo e la figura“ 

Within the exhibition, the artist presents sculptures he created. Each sculpture illustrates a scene within an unknown and unpublished 18th century Italian theatre play called „L‘uovo e la figura“. 


Scene 1 in which after a quarrel, Giovan de Chiozza wants to push Domizio de Chioz- za‘s right eyeball so deeply into his head so that it may burst. The servant brooms the floor. He addresses the audience directly by giving the following remarks: A life in the blink of an eye. A performance without a rehearsal. A body available. I don‘t know the role that I play. I will only guess what the piece is about. Poorly equipped for life, for glory. I bear the pace of actions with difficulty. I improvise even though the improvisation disgusts me. I stumble upon my ignorance at every step. My instincts are mostly wrong. The stage fright that at least speaks for me is all the more humiliating. The extenuating circumstances seem cruel to me. The words and gestures cannot be withdrawn, the stars cannot be counted. No. I stand in the set and see how solid it is. The precision of various props is striking. The rotating mechanism has been working for a long time. Even the most distant mists are lit. No doubt it‘s the opening night. And whatever I do becomes what I did. Once and for all. In this life. I am what I am. An actor in this play. The narrator of this world. Mundus est fabula.

Scene 2 in which Belfantino sits in the smoking room of the Contessa de Chiozza and tries to comprehend the extent of his misconduct. If you cannot reconcile yourself to the law, remain in the cradle. 

Scene 3
in which Barnabucchio the great actor stands on the side stage. He has to give his famous monologue but doesn‘t dare because he suffers from terrible stage fright.
 He is haunted by hallucinations of an outlawed and feeble-minded little man that brags about wanting to cut off his penis and his balls. The little man yells: „Did the wise man not say: Seek the soul’s beauty! Before you seek the body’s? Body and soul are simply words of changing reality. The state became idle, its citizens flat and brazen. I shall cut off my penis and my balls as I seek peace and redemption for my tormented body. Not my soul! As I order the people to unite and fight the oppressors!“ Ultimately Barnabuccio holds the hand of the stage technician Quinto seeking for consolation. 

Scene 4 in which Severino went to the old rock gate to collect strawberries for his master. Instead he discovers a disturbing crime scene and finds a mysterious book. 

Scene 5
in which Calimero and Eufrasio try to resolve a difficult intellectual disagree- ment through a fight. Calimero eventually wins the argument. 

1.7.21 — 7.8.21

Photo by Wieland Schönfelder

Kunsthalle Freeport

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