Marieke Coppens

Pre-Remains (2009)

Performance and sculpture


The performance Pre-Remains is situated between a sacrifice and an homage where present, past and future intermingle.

Creme-coloured woolen army blankets were used for all the costumes and the sculpture. The costumes’ design have been based on the Great War’s uniforms.
The men wore uniforms and the women wore fabric medals, all assembled from the different uniforms of the parties at war.
The army blankets were stripped of their colour by cutting out the original red. By extracting the colour of the whole, the choice between good and bad becomes less obvious.

As a result aggression can be approached in an aesthetic manner.

A closed door. Through the glass of the door only the dark of the room behind it is visible. Four women in long creme-coloured coats are standing in front of the door. Continuously one of the women brings a group of two or three visitors into the room. The audience only sees the reflected light from the women’s coats. When the complete audience is put in place a strange silence arises. From time to time a bang is heard, this bang could be a gunshot. The reverberation of that bang indicates the size of the room. After ten minutes the light switches on. What has been looked at for ten minutes becomes visible in a second. The bangs were the horse’s shoes hitting the concrete floor, instead of a gunshot. Four horses are standing in the shape of a cross, all with their heads facing in opposite directions. The horses are completely covered and connected with the army blankets. The connection is at this point not yet visible for the audience.
Four men are each leading one horse. The men and horses are standing almost motionless. But this motionlessness is a stilled aggression.
The men start to walk forward, each in an opposite direction. The opposite forces first make the aggression very actively stilled. At the peak of the four forces the blankets cannot stay in one peace and start to tear. This makes the horses come loose from each other.

(Please note: the first 38 seconds are black/dark)


To be able to make a combination of fluid (performance) and solid (sculpture) I decided to stretch the performance in a sculpture.
Previously to the performance the sculpture was shown.