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OPENINGS: TRIS VONNA-MICHELL

Tris Vonna-Michell, Papierstau (Paper Jam), 2007–2008. Performance view, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany, 2007. From Leipzig Calendar Works, 2005–. Photo: Fred Dott.

TRIS VONNA-MICHELL’S PROJECTS invariably develop from something seemingly inconsequential: a stash of old family photographs; the late French poet Henri Chopin’s taste for quail eggs; Germans named Hahn or Huhn. By the time the British artist is done, however, he’ll have traveled to other countries and explored the possibility of knowledge emerging from the intersections of personal experience, history, and coincidence. And by the time the audience hears about it, it’s usually in a fractured, postmedium manner. There are performances in which Vonna-Michell first sets (or asks the audience to set) a time limit using an egg timer, and then breaks into a dazzlingly fast, borderline-impenetrable monologue recounting his quest, edited or expanded on the fly; these semi-improvised recitations are complemented by—and frequently take place within—changeable, sketchy installations,

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