May 092014

A Family Portrait

Performance, one hour and ten minutes, 2014

The Stedelijk Museum is proud to present the new performance by Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen, A Family Portrait, This performance is part of the performance and lecture series Stage It! (Part 3): SCRIPTED. The work consists of a large-scale installation, which is presented as an autonomous object, entitled Een Woonkamer, and a script performed by four actors. The two works relate to each other as a family relates to the home it lives in: the house is their property, and they belong together, but they are also two separate things in the world.

Een Familieportret (A Family Portrait) is a portrait of the average Dutch family, which the artists have managed to locate with the help of data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. The script of the performance is based on sound recordings made at the family’s home. Een Familieportret contains fragments from the family’s daily life, arranged over the course of one day. Superficially, the text is about trivial everyday events, but the subtext touches on broader social developments which characterize the age in which we live. For example, English expressions widely used in Dutch are characteristic of the dominance of Anglo-Saxon culture, and the difficulties the mother faces with her application for unemployment benefits illustrate the effect of the economic crisis in Europe at the micro level. Many things are not expressed, and the tensions, doubts, and uncertainties which play a role in this “average” family are often concealed in small, apparently meaningless sentences. The script is clearly visible during the performance. In this way, Een Familieportret becomes documentary theater, in which language serves as an objet trouvé, and the everyday way in which families relate to each other at home becomes an alienating performance.

Curator: Hendrik Folkerts, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Jessica Zeylmaker
Martijn van der Veen (2014)
Noël Keulen (2015)
Dunja van der Velde
Titus Schutte

Casper Jansen

Assistant director:
Emma Waslander

Genevieve Murphy

Supported by Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst