Florentina Holzinger and Vin­cent Riebeek’s Kein Ap­plaus für Scheisse

BOMB Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Lau­ren Bakst

Amer­i­can Re­al­ness at Abrons Arts Cen­ter, Jan­uary, 2015

Three scenes from Kein Ap­plaus für Scheisse:

One. I re­mem­ber Florentina Holzinger’s first cos­tume. It was an over­size, or­ange- dyed dress, a muumuu re­ally. She was sit­ting in a chair cen­ter stage. A minute or so ear­lier, a high fan kick had re­vealed her lack of un­der­wear. Vin­cent Riebeek, in a sim­i­larly loose blue gar­ment, kneeled to sneak his head be­tween her legs—the im­age mo­men­tar­ily evok­ing a fa­mil­iar sex­ual po­si­tion. He inched away from Holzinger to dis­play a red string ex­it­ing her vagina and en­ter­ing his mouth. Turn­ing his body to face the au­di­ence, he pulled and chewed and the string kept com­ing. Holzinger lifted her legs into a strad­dle po­si­tion. She was also chew­ing on a piece of red string, cre­at­ing the il­lu­sion that the ma­te­rial was pass­ing seam­lessly into one ori­fice and out the other. Hold­ing their po­si­tions—Holzinger in the chair and Riebeek kneel­ing on the floor—they bounced sub­tly to the beat of Ri­hanna’s “Man Down” play­ing over the speak­ers. Their bod­ies formed a vi­brat­ing tableau with the string pass­ing steadily be­tween them in a sin­gle di­rec­tion.

Two. I re­mem­ber Riebeek di­rect­ing his at­ten­tion to­ward the au­di­ence in a “Look at me!” kind of way while en­act­ing a se­ries of move­ments. Mid-head- spi­ral­into-leg- ex­ten­sion, Holzinger hurled her­self to­ward him while jump­ing. With­out hes­i­ta­tion, they col­lided. We (the au­di­ence) laughed. This scene re­peated it­self: Holzinger or Riebeek would in­dulge in mo­ments of solo danc­ing only to be in­ter­rupted by a crash from the other, in­evitably pro­vok­ing laugh­ter fromthe au­di­ence. There was some­thing about the full force with which they moved in and out of con­tact—never paus­ing to ac­knowl­edge the catas­tro­phe of their two bod­ies meet­ing, they just kept go­ing, pum­mel­ing each other through the space all the while main­tain­ing the clar­ity of in­ten­tion­ally ex­tended limbs.

Three. I re­mem­ber the cerulean blue color of the liq­uid that Riebeek vom­ited onto Holzinger’s chest. They wore feather- adorned biki­nis. Holzinger was ly­ing on the floor and Riebeek was kneel­ing in be­tween her legs. The vi­o­lent ef­fort with which he re­peat­edly rammed his fin­gers down his throat was more dif­fi­cult to be­hold than Holzinger’s ap­a­thetic gaze. Af­ter a se­quence of at least five rep­e­ti­tions—gag, vomit, gag, vomit—Holzinger looked back at Riebeek plainly and asked, “Can I hug you?”

If these scenes sound messy and ir­rev­er­ent, it’s be­cause they are. Holzinger and Riebeek have a way of man­ag­ing the clichés their work in­vokes. Their pres­ences bal­ance each other. While Riebeek per­forms ex­ces­sively with camp, Holzinger shows no sign of emo­tion. She un­der-per­forms with ef­fort so that we feel ev­ery­thing bub­bling up just be­neath the sur­face. This dy­namic might be the­most rad­i­cal as­pect of their­work. It un­der­mines our ex­pec­ta­tions of gen­dered power re­la­tions within a given im­age. Riebeek is work­ing for the ap­plause, while Holzinger just waits for it. To­gether, they suc­cumb to the dis­as­ters of these spec­ta­cles with­out apol­ogy. — Lau­ren Bakst is an artist and a dancer whose work takes the forms of chore­og­ra­phy, writ­ing, per­for­mance, and video.

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