Tableau Vivant at Nyckelviksskolan Thursday 12th September 2013

Malin Pettersson Öberg is since August 2013 teaching painting and drawing at Nyckelviksskolan in Stockholm. One of the first blocks in Malin’s course for students at Färg, Form och Hantverk (Group 3) comprises of figure drawing, and as a final exercise, Tableau Vivant. 

The group produces its own Tableau Vivant (= living picture) with set design, costumes and themselves as models. The work begins with an introduction with examples such as Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia (1863) which at the time was perceived as an intensely contemporary and shocking paraphrase of Titian’s Venus of Urbino (1538). We continue to the 1964 performative adaptation of Olympia – called Site – carried out by Robert Morris and Carolee Schneeman and examine how Mise en scène during the late 20th century and onwards has been explored in photography and video art. We look at Tableau Vivant as a genre in medieval street festivals and in 1700th century theater, and explore the contemporary interests in this genre represented by artists such as Ulla von Brandenburg. After the introduction the students divide into smaller groups and research the concept further in order to present and select one proposal for the class to carry out together. After half a day of ”posing” for half of the group and drawing for the other, the groups swap places. Everything is documented carefully with photo and video. The purpose of the task is to extend the concept of figure drawing to include a physical and conceptual understanding of its performative aspects, and for the importance of staging and imitation (paraphrasing) in art, photography and theater. The students gain experience from planning and fabricating props, costumes and a scenario/story in which they act as models. They carry out basic research together, and collaborate around an idea and the execution of this idea.

For more pictures, please visit Nyckelviksskolan’s website presentation.