Dundee

Patrick Staff, The Prince of Homburg, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 23 minutes.

Patrick Staff, The Prince of Homburg, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 23 minutes.

Patrick Staff

Dundee Contemporary Arts

Patrick Staff’s reimagining of Heinrich von Kleist’s 1810 play, The Prince of Homburg, was a compelling balance of nocturnal confusion and daylight insight. A carceral video installation incorporating sculpture and photography, it adopted the dualities of the original text––freedom/imprisonment, sleeping/waking, dream/reality––to map the limits of individual agency and autonomy in the current political moment.

The two rooms of the exhibition––one light, one dark––laid out this dialectical commitment. The Appetite (all works 2019) consisted of a barbed security railing lining both rooms, with objects based on motifs from Kleist’s play (among them a key chain, a shirt stuffed with plastic flowers, and a set of padlocks) caught in it. Five large photograms likewise referenced or punned on Kleist’s props. Collectively, these objects manifested a ghostly absence, variously bringing to mind the

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