Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz

Works * CV

Exhibitions and events:
Nascent States

Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz have collaborated since 1998. Their work often revisits materials form the past, usually photographs or films, referring to and excavating unrepresented or illegible moments of queerness in history. These works show embodiments, which are able to cross different times, but also draw relations between time to reveal possibilities for a queer futurity.   

Recent solo exhibitions include Journal Notes from Backstage, Marcelle Alix, Paris, 2014; Aftershow, CAPC, Bordeaux, 2013; A Toxic Play in Two Acts, South London Gallery (curated by Electra), 2012; Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers (Paris Triennale), 2012; Swiss off-site Pavilion, as part of Chewing the Scenery, Venice Biennale, 2011; Contagieux! Rapports contre la normalité, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva, 2010; Normal Work, Les Complices, Zurich, 2010.

A curtain, two performers, inside the remnants of an old public swimming pool. The performers claim to be representatives of an underground organization. The curtain is set up for their anonymity. The public is long gone, the place seems abandoned. Once the curtain is removed, another one appears. This one, pink zebra, fuses the war technique of camouflage with the stylishness of homo-outfits and becomes a showcase for the entrance of large amounts of smoke. The dense smoke perhaps stems from bombings, or it is set off as a signal during a political demonstration. Later a speech is delivered, based on a text by Jean Genet. Its topic? The desire for a proper faultless enemy. It opens up the question of how to move forward in a war or a fight for resistance without any declared and ‘visible’ enemy.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Opaque, 2014
video, 16mm film transferred to HD video, 10’

'To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe..' values the unpredictable and unknowable possibilities that might be activated by not specifying pitches and rhythms. Nothing is known in advance of making the music. The instructions are chosen in order to insist on "a continuous circulation of power" (Oliveros) between listening and sounding - a give and take that requires, as Oliveros says, an unusual attention to the relationship between oneself and others.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation, 2013
video, 16mm film transferred to HD video, 18’

'Toxic' shows two protagonists in an undated time, a punk figure in glitter (Ginger Brooks Takahashi) and a drag queen (Werner Hirsch), both of unclear gender and origin. They linger in an environment of glossy remains, of toxic plants and transformed ethnographic and police photography. While the punk gives a speech on toxicity and a performance referencing early feminist art works, the drag queen reenacts an interview of Jean Genet from the ‘80s and blames the filmmakers for exposing her to the police-like scenario of being filmed. The camera turns and depicts the space-off, the space outside the frame.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Toxic, 2012
video, 16mm film transferred to HD video, 13’

'No Future / No Past' quotes in its form Ronald Tavel’s play 'The Live of Juanita Castro', where an onscreen director is feeding the performers their lines. While the frame of a film image usually picks up important visual elements while omitting less important ones, the work turns such validations and conventions of film history upside down.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, No Future / No Past, 2011
video, 16mm film transferred to HD video, 15’

Imitation in the context of contagion serves to multiply the 'flight' from the norm, feared and at the same time desired. But the contagion seems to be interrupted, when in the end of the film we experience Vaginal Davis / Aida Walker screaming at the audience: "Stop it!" which refers to a performance of the musician Little Richard described by Tavia Nyong’o (2009) in his text Rig it up–Excess and Ecstasy in Little Richard’s Sound. The audience at this point freezes, the connection with the past and the previous imitations is broken.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, CONTAGIOUS!, 2010
video, video installation, 12’

With a wink to Jack Smith, the New York underground performer and filmmaker from the 60’s to the 80’s, as well as to the history of queer and feminist calls such as "wages for housework!", the film recreates the 'housewife' as an ambiguous figure with an open future. Additional references extend from Deleuze-Guattari’s becoming-animal, the Dandy of the 19th century, who out of protest against the clock pulse of the industrialisation walked turtles on leashes, as Walther Benjamin described him, to Pasolini’s ironic-capitalism critical film 'Hawks and Sparrows'.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Charming for the Revolution, 2009
video, DVD, 11’

Salomania reconstructs a dance: the ‘dance of the seven veils,’ from Alla Nazimova’s 1923 silent film Salomé. Also shown and rehearsed are sections from ‘Valda’s Solo,’ which the choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer created after having seen Nazimova’s film. The installation takes up Salome as a transgender figure and the motif of a queer appropriation of the exotic. The performers are Wu Ingrid Tsang and Yvonne Rainer.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Salomania, 2009
video, 16mm film transferred to HD video, 17’

The setting of 'N.O. Body' is a 19th century lecture hall in which the possible positions of the production of knowledge are spatially organized – the central position of ‘the professor,’ the large table, which introduces the object of interest, the blackboard, on which knowledge is recorded, and the listeners, sitting in rising rows of seats facing the scene of knowledge. But what happens in the production of normality and deviance, asks the film N.O. Body, if the ‘object of knowledge’ assumes the position of the producer of knowledge, starts laughing and opens up the history of knowledge production once again? The image of an empty auditorium assigns a position to the potential audience: N.O.bodies.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, n. o. body, 2008
video, 16mm film transferred to video, 15’

Hannah Cullwick not only cleaned from early in the morning to late in the evening in various households, she also produced a series of remarkable staged photographs, numerous diaries, and letters. These materials present her strengh, her muscles, and her big, dirty hands: embodiments of her gender that were obviously directly connected with her working practices and which she was very proud of. In 'Normal Work,' we watch the performer Werner Hirsch attempt to imitate Hannah Cullwick's poses as precisely as possible. Werner Hirsch / Hannah Cullwick orients him/herself to his/her memory, to a mirror, or to a 'model' that is not in the image, or to instructions that are called out to him/her, also from outside the space of the frame.


Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Normal work, 2007
video, 16mm film transferred to video, 13’