Ulla von Brandenburg: Neue Alte Welt review (4 stars)

The German artist's 'Chorspiel' provides a mesmerising centrepiece to this exhibition

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Ulla von Brandenburg: Neue Alte Welt review

German artist Ulla von Brandenburg’s exhibition Neue Alte Welt (New Old World) consists of three parts: a short film, a wall painting of a theatre hall, and a collection of objects that act as theatrical props.

‘Chorspiel’ is part-opera, part-performance, part beautifully shot black-and-white film. A family of four – an elderly woman, an elderly man, a middle-aged woman and a young woman – are visited by a young man, the Wanderer. Trapped in a situation unknown to the viewer, as if under a spell in a folk legend, the characters act with purpose, but without sensibility. The Wanderer, a solitary figure on a quest for fulfilment, arrives with a closed box, perhaps a symbol of hope to break the spell and to set them free. What unfolds seems cyclical and we are not sure to what extent the young man is implicated in this entrapment.

Still mesmerised by the accomplished film, we wander upstairs to find a collection of objects. Some make links with the film, but others seem far removed and break the spell.

The Common Guild, Glasgow, until Sat 21 May.

Neue Alte Welt

  • 4 stars

Ulla von Brandenburg uses photographs, installation, performance, drawing, painting and film to create works that draw on many aspects of the European cultural heritage (she also composes her own music). The exhibition includes the remarkable Chorspiel, a multi-part film featuring five characters from three generations.

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