August 18, 2009 - Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art - Yan Duyvendak
August 18, 2009

Yan Duyvendak

Yan Duyvendak
“Une soirée pour nous”, 1999

Yan Duyvendak
“Encore – Retrospective”

June 5th – August 23rd 2009

Performance event:
Sunday, August 23rd, 6.30pm:
Keep it Fun For Yourself (1995)
Une Soirée Pour Nous (1999), 13”
Dreams Come True (2003), 23”

St. Alban-Rheinweg 64,
CH-4052 Basel, Switzerland

Yan Duyvendak (*1965 in Holland, lives in Geneva) is one of the most important Swiss media and performance artists. His work addresses media and their direct effects on the contemporary subject and society. On stage Duyvendak combines live-performance with TV-images, film sequences or computer games.

Duyvendak performances build a tension between the monitor, the media image and the material presence of the performer. The artist physically executes an emotional identification with the beautiful and the powerful as well as with the evil and uncanny of the world of media. At first, the audience is simply amazed by the precision of the execution: Duyvendak’s movements and language are perfectly synchronized with the broadcasted image. The attention is torn between the media image and the physicality of the performer. This contrast remains unsolved: the passionate identification fails in trying to reach its idol.

In his performance Duyvendak put on stage a kind of identifi¬cation we experience again and again in the everyday life and consequently arouses questions about the significance of this identification not only for the single person, but also for the society, which is thoroughly steeped in media and media images. “What would happen if the average television viewer, who watches soap operas during lunch hour and spends evenings clicking between a reality show, a film, the weather report, and maybe a concert – what would happen if this viewer took it upon himself, one day, to do exactly what the TV told him to? If he took himself for the weatherman, for a famous actor, for the girl in the advertisement? Would he manage to make real, to live, to inhabit all the morals, all the life-lessons, all the worldviews which the TV launches, day after day, at his brain?” (Nicole Borgeat)

As a performance artist, Duyvendak places itself at the brim between contemporary visual art and theater. The traditional exhibition as a format of simple distribution could be quite inadequate for the presentation of this time-based medium. With the retrospective exhibition Encore [] accepts this challenge and intends to provide a synoptic overview on Duyvendak’s work. Videos, performance props, documents and inspiration sources are arranged in a specific installation setting, which Duyvendak has developed for the space of []. The exhibition is accompanied by a special performance-program, which gives the possibility to experience the original live format of the shown works.

Credits: All performances: In cooperation with Nicole Borgeat / Direction: Imanol Atorrasasti (except Side Effect and Mainstream)

Mainstream: Created and performed with Alexandra Bachzetsis

Performances in cooperation with Kaserne Basel; LISTE – The young art fair; art education studies HGK/FHNW.

The exhibition is supported by: Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Prohelvetia, Migros Kulturprozent

[] is supported by: Christoph Merian Stiftung, Kanton Basel-Stadt,

St. Alban-Rheinweg 64,
CH-4052 Basel, Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 283 60 50
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 2pm – 6pm


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