Céline Berger: Circular Dance

Céline Berger’s art is interwoven with corporate strategies and thinking, and it is a reflection of the artist’s past employment history. After twelve years as an employee, Céline Berger decided to change her focus and to devote herself to artistic work. This reflection of the artist’s past experience forms an important connecting link between her videos, photographs, short films, and objects. The personal direction of this artist is more of a counter-direction to that taken by large companies. The latter are more often interconnecting work with play, and designing the working environment as a playground for their employees.This leads to an increased intermingling of the private and the public, of leisure time with working time. Céline Berger has used this interconnection in a number of different projects, a selection of which is being presented not only at Karlin Studios but also at a nearby store that sells luxury office furniture – the Vitra Showroom.

 

The installation at Karlin Studios includes the video loop La ronde, in which a professional actress recounts the stories of four characters. The piece could be profiled as something of a series of fairy tales from the world of management. Their “heroes” and “heroines” face everyday challenges. In their positions, however, their personal challenges are inseparable from their work-related ones.

Berger, however, takes these seemingly serious stories from the work environment and leads them into an unusual dance rhythm, in which the characters meet one another through their narratives (the first with the second, the second with the third, etc.) in a way that may be described as AB, BC, CD, DA. The artist patterned her simply choreography on the German play Reigen (1903), which in its time aroused controversy not only with its openly sexual content but mainly because of its protagonists, who represented different layers of society (and sexual practices). Just as in in Céline Berger’s adaptation – although she focuses on different aspects of “experience exchange” than those of a sexual nature – the characters in the original version of the play gradually replace one another until the circle is closed.

 

Berger refrains from being directly critical, acting more as an observer who purposefully chooses distorted areas of corporate culture and mirrors them in the world of contemporary art, which, however, also contains tendencies to accept certain aspects of corporate functioning.

Video still
Video still