Two good-sized tables set a short distance apart, each covered with white, paper, table cloths. On one an array of household items are meticulously arranged, laid out like surgical tools in a coroner’s room. Resting near the corner of the table are thirty six cherries. The opposite table lies bare and the whole has a feel of an operating theatre. As the audience moves about surveying the items German artist, Eve Meyer-Keller silently enters, dressed in black like the angel of death. After a brief announcement she dons a pristine, white apron and Death is certain begins. For the next forty minutes the performance is conducted in total silence as Meyer-Keller, like a clinical, connoisseur of death, fastidiously dispatches each cherry with cold, cruel precision. Thought provoking, ingenious and occasionally moving, Death is certain is a darkly comic, devilishly clever, multi-disciplinary performance where cherries, like so many hapless minions, meet a cruel, and sometimes unusual, demise.
Like humans, the cherries have tender skin, meat and a kind of bone inside of them. They bleed when cut, skinned, stabbed, crushed or burnt. There’s an invitation extended to identify with the cherries, to project onto them our own experiences and fantasies. At times there is a real sense of being re-sensitized, of glimpsing momentarily the lived experiences of those who died in the gas chambers or were burnt at the stake. At other times the experience is closer to home as popular methods of execution, including lethal injection and electrocution, are played out before us. Movie references are also to be found, along with deaths horrific, comical and fantastical. But as time passes and cherries continue to relentlessly fall, focus shifts from the tortured victims and onto the artist at work on her parade of death. The executioner replaces her victims as the focal point for attention as means take precedence over the inevitable end, provoking laughter, admiration and surprise.
Death is certain resists easy categorisation. Showing a strong, visual arts sensibility, its relationship to performance art is much in evidence, as is a strong sense of the theatrical. Sometimes moving, frequently funny and always inventive, Death is certain is a little gem of a production performed with simplicity and ingenuity by a genuinely original artist.
Death is certain by Eva Mayer-Keller runs at The Project Arts Centre Cube until May 22nd as part of the Dublin Dance Festival 2015.
Show times: 7.00 p.m. and 9.15.pm
Tickets: €15 Concessions: €13 Early bird: €12
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