I tried to write you a love song (2018)
Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau
Performance in group exhibition «On the Road. 10 years of CARAVAN – Series of Exhibitions of Young Art»
It's just one of these weird days. I mean, I think it might be...
I don’t know, I feel better now, I guess... just talking about it.
I don’t want your advice, I don’t want your jokes. No, no!
I don’t want your cleverness, or your judgement. No, thanks!
I need you close.
Where do we go from here? This isn't where we intended to be.
Deep in my heart I'm concealing, things that I'm longing to say. Scared to confess what I'm feeling, frightened you'll slip away.
I want to jump into you. Swim in your waters. Move with your waves. I want to feel the tingling of your salt on my skin.
If I jump into you, will you carry me? Or will you drown me?
«The performance I tried to write you a love song (2018) is about the need to communicate and be understood by the other. This work by Robert Steinberger, which will be performed twice, weaves together self-written texts and quotes of various origin, which result in a personal interpretation of communication in intimate relationships. People yearn for other people, long to feel safe and cared for and understood. Yet communication with its frequent ambiguities and misunderstanding tends to get in the way of the need to connect.
What often remains unclear in Steinberger’s work is to whom his words are directed: does he call on a particular person to love him or, as in the case of the pop star, on the public? ‹My dear, let me perform for you›, he wrote in the invitation for his 2017 performance let me go...down. The artist exposes his inner self and risks failing. The conditions of the ephemeral art form of performance are precarious. The more intensely the artist speaks of the fear to reveal his true feelings, the more open and vulnerable he becomes as a stage figure.
While the subject of love is met with reservation in the visual arts, it is the central theme in pop music. What fascinates Steinberger is the fine line between the display of personal experiences and the universal message of a pop song. He likes to mix such song lyrics with other found quotes as well as texts of his own, thus muddling up the question of authorship.
As a physical trace of the ephemeral art form, a poetic invitation to the performances is available in the space on the museum’s lower level. Panels of semi-transparent fabric in warm gold and pink colours create an intimate space within the space, where viewers can read the invitation and feel the light breeze which sways the airy curtains.»
-Aargauer Kunsthaus exhibition text
Photos © Esther Nora Mathis 2018