Fette Sans, The Cabinet
With her solo exhibition The Cabinet Fette Sans opens the program of the 2021 newly founded project space Neun Kelche in Berlin-Weißensee. In her installations Fette Sans orchestrates new realities and animates them with speculative narratives through her performances. With these framed rituals, Fette Sans repeatedly explores the boundary between closeness and distance. In the past, audiences have watched the artist inhabit a hotel room for five months, perform in a glass display in a subway underpass, and in a quarantine-room-like setting behind the now-ubiquitous plastic screen.The audience always remains physically at a distance, while simultaneously observing intimate monologues and private ceremonies.
In her new work The Cabinet the artist shifts the perspective: not directly on herself, but through the visitors entering the bizarre constructed scenery, finding themselves caught in an ambivalent disposition — between repulsion and lure. The installation consists of three rooms: a laboratory, a boudoir and a confessional. Their previous use is still traceable in the form of stains, used utensils or untidy sheets. Tablets and drug-like substances become the protagonists of the deserted scene. What might have happened in this mixture of a secret back room and an alluring cabinet of curiosities can hardly be guessed. The objects remaining in the room promise intimacy, excess, or even violence. They tell stories of private moments, and despite the lack of activity, a voyeuristic, transgressive feeling gradually transpires. Absence thus becomes the theme of the installation.
Over the weeks preceding the exhibition, Fette Sans shot the video work AGIRLICA in the cabinet presented here. The artist herself lives and works in Weißensee, and this exhibition invokes the district’s cinematic past as “Little Hollywood.” The film classic Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari became the direct inspiration for the site-specific work. The expressionist silent film was shot in a small studio in Berlin-Weißensee and is known for its uncanny shift between reality and fiction, madness and sanity. Through the figure of Dr. Caligari, the artist takes up the staging of ambivalences, leaving the cabinet as the site of the action. The installation becomes a silent film set.
Fette Sans reverses gender roles in her adaptation of the film. As the female Dr. Caligari, the mysterious dealer arouses the interest of the young cute boys of the neighborhood and lures them into her cabinet. Once there, she plays with them, administers them the recreational drug AGIRLICA and uses their lack of willpower to fulfill her own lust.
Fette Sans takes the role of a dazzling figure oscillating between a violent criminal, lover and pastoral counselor, through which she negotiates questions of representation, gendered film roles and power. The work is a further continuation of Sans’ ongoing exploration of pharmaceutical products and the entire androcentric industry. Thus, the party drug AGIRLICA becomes the young cute boys’ undoing.
Fette Sans’ reinterpretation of the classic film will be shown at the exhibition’s finissage on October 24 at the Brotfabrik on Caligariplatz. Confessions can be made every Sunday by appointment throughout the duration of the exhibition.