november 3—4, 8:30 pm
performa biennial 2023
solomon r. guggenheim museum, peter b. lewis theater
Berlin and Seoul-based artist Haegue Yang presents her sixth iteration of The Malady of Death, a text written by French filmmaker and author Marguerite Duras. Featuring Laurence Olivier award-winning actor Noma Dumezweni, Yang’s spectral staging will take advantage of the circular Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, highlighting the lone performer whose singular presence will be refracted throughout the space.
In addition to her prolific exhibition career of rich sculptural productions and multi-sensorial installations, Yang has committed herself to a book by the legendary French author and filmmaker Marguerite Duras, namely her 1982 novella The Malady of Death, by staging it in various forms and translating it in different languages. The novella explores a mysterious tryst between two figures identified as “You” and “She,” isolated in a seaside hotel room for an unspecified period of time. Told in Duras’s minimal yet haunting prose, “You” attempts to learn “how to love,” but “She” diagnoses him as suffering from the “malady of death,” a condition of emptiness caused by the inability to find love and pleasure in a world ruled by gendered, colonial, and sociopolitical power dynamics.
Beginning with her initiation of the novella’s Korean translation in 2008 as well as Chinese translation, commissioned by M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong in 2015 and a public reading at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) in 2010, Yang has adapted Duras’s text into a site-specific, hypnotic monodrama. Versions of the monodrama have premiered at Namsan Arts Center (Seoul, 2010), Staatstheater Kassel, commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13) (Kassel, 2012), the Sunbeam Theater, commissioned by M+ (Hong Kong, 2015), and in a cenote, a type of sinkhole, in the rural Yucatán region of Mexico (2016) hosted by kurimanzutto.
Curated by Charles Aubin