Rodney Place

Angels of Stealth 22., 24. and 26. Oktober 2010, at Kunstmuseum Bonn

A Multimedia Performance with Choreography and Projections by Rodney Place.


Angels of Stealth - are angels of deceit, of furtiveness, of cunning and, in the military sense, "the ones with the magic hood", the invisible ones. Angels of Stealth - is how South African artist Rodney Place calls his multimedia project, a vital part of which are the contributions by many young female artists: They act as dancers and performers, actresses, musicians or models.


The pieces take up the personal biographies of the performers and stage their efforts at establishing themselves in a society which is undergoing socio-political change. The overall topic deals with ...


In the process Rodney Place acts predominantly as director and choreographer, occasionally he also makes an appearance as emcee or waiter. Every time the live performances by scantily clad or naked dancers are combined with pre-recorded video sequences and shown in varying locations - in theatres, hotels or museums - as temporary public events.

As a four-dimensional project Angels of Stealth is a work in progress which can flexibly react and adapt to different locations and conditions of reception. In Warsaw, for four years, Rodney Place was able to experience the various contrasts which exist in Europe on a political, economic and societal level. He builds bridges between his native South Africa and the rest of the world - the Angels of Stealth project refers to Andy Warhol and the Chelsea Hotel in New York, to the history of performance art from Marina Abramovic to Ulrike Rosenbach, it combines reflections on things which are not site-specific but rather something everybody ponders from time to time: the question of one´s own place in the world.


Angels of Stealth is a European project between East and West which addresses the challenges to which the new Europe, extended towards the East, has to find answers. Rodney Place, an outsider who has already lived on almost all continents, very acutely perceives the new dilemma for Eastern Europe: The search for one´s own role in a multi-optional globalised world.

What Rodney Place describes as an external observer is the course of negotiations which everybody involved in this pan-European new deal has to hold for themselves and their life. The consequences of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe have, in parts, joined forces with the consequences of globalization and therefore created a situation which provides previously unimaginable opportunities for the daring members of a younger generation - the older or more timid, however, are left behind.


The Videonale project at the Kunstmuseum Bonn is curated by Georg Elben.


Rodney Place, born in Johannesburg in 1952, studied at the Architectural Association in London in the 1970s and has worked in over 20 countries, where he has presented his pictures, sculptures and choreographies in different contexts, among them the Adelaide Festival (1996); the World Wide Video Festival, Amsterdam (2001); Dakar (2002) and the Havana Biennial (2003); Dance Umbrella Festival, Johannesburg (2004); Temps d´Images Festival, La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, CCA, Warsaw, Hayward Gallery, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2006).

Scenes presented:

"Angels - Foreign Affair"

Leila Anderson comes from South Africa but her great grandmother was part of Leo Trotzky´s inner circle before she fled from Stalin´s purges and settled in South Africa. She speaks - barely dressed and only faintly visible - behind a semi-transparent pane of glass which features a photograph of the revolutionary as an old man.


"Angels - The Editor"

Iva Paneva is a Bulgarian actress, salsa dancer and semi-professional archer which shoots real arrows at a punch bag suspended in the basement of the museum. At the same time a video is projected upon the punch bag which shows the archer, life-size, giving Rodney Place, the head waiter in this ten minute piece, a lesson in salsa dancing. The aggression and formal exquisiteness of archery bonds with the beauty and eroticism of the South American dance like two sides of a medal.


"Angels - Knights D´Amour"

This video sculpture features of projections onto a free-hanging suit of armour. It deals with parts of the history of an imaginary country as a show presenting soldiers and (female) striptease as the embodiment of winners and losers. The myth of the "strong woman", her femininity and the armour of the "strong man" are confronted with one another, projected onto one another and eliminate one another - an epic remake of War and Peace.



"Angels – In Disguise"

Txiki Margalef, a Spanish artist living in Paris, plays a cyber paparazzi infiltrating the show as both camerawoman and Angel in disguise. Chiqui appropriates the works of other performers, aided and abetted by Anderson’s character, Rosa, the mistress of virtual espionage.