janet grau



Performance, installation, 2000

In the gallery, a space has been created by hanging bedsheets on clotheslines. From this enclosed space comes the sound of a woman (me) singing Marilyn Monroe’s She Acts Like a Woman Should. My pink rubber-gloved hand extends through a hole in the sheet and pulls a rope attached to a system of pulleys.

The nature of the activity within the ‘private’ space remains puzzling, visible only through small glimpses offered by instant cameras sewn into the sheets.

Wearing a wig and heavy makeup, I am simultaneously engaged in two absurd and obscure tasks: singing the song on a continuous loop and manipulating the rope that raises and lowers two blood sausages in front of my face. Each time the sausages come within reach, I stop singing and try to take a bite.

Outside the private room, in the gallery, a second woman (Doreen Uhlig) moves silently and methodically, cutting all the roses from her summer dress one by one and letting them fall to the floor. Gradually, as she removes as many flowers as she can reach, she becomes more and more vulnerable, revealing more of her body as the dress disintegrates.

Through the voyeuristic view provided by the cameras and the seemingly self-destructive act of cutting away the flowers, the performance explores the permeable nature of female protective layers and paradoxical behaviors. It highlights themes of vulnerability, privacy, and exposure, while also hinting at the personal struggles and manipulation experienced by women in the spotlight, such as Marilyn Monroe.

"If I know just what to say when some trouble heads his way and can make him feel that everything is good, then I act like a woman and he likes a woman to act like a woman should."


The performance [privat] took place at the 5th Dresden International Performance Art Meeting at Kunst Haus Dresden.

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