Ellen Friis

Works with Live Art Denmark
Ellen is one of the founders and directors of Live Art Denmark and takes part in developing and producing all projects of our company. Her artistic contributions to the various programs include:
2007: “The Evidence” at Berliner Luft 3
2012: “Six Saints: Lene Vestergaard Hau” at Samtalekøkken at Kunsthal Nikolaj
2013: “Six Saints: Tycho Brahe” and “Six Saints: H.C.Ørsted” at Hitparaden 1
2014 “Still-life (after Wilhelm Bendz)” for Now and Again
2017 “Ida Bruns Attituder” at Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

The Evidence
At Berliner Luft 3 Ellen performed the first version of her performance “The Evidence”. Inspired by the sentence in a physics book, that claimed we wouldn’t notice if time went backwards, because so would our memory, Ellen performed a breakfast scenario backwards for video camcorder and live audience, and then reversed the resulting recording immediately. A video recreation of the performance was recreated can be found here.

Videostill: Peter Sloth Madsen

Videostill: Peter Sloth Madsen

Six Saints: Lene Vestergaard Hau
In her performance-series, Six Saints, Ellen Friis investigates the time concepts of six famous Danish scientists from the renaissance to the present, who concerned themselves with light, energy and time. At Samtalekøkken, Ellen presented the first part of the series, “Six Saints: Lene Vestergaard Hau”, in which she stopped time. Lene Hau experimentally brought atoms into such a condensed state that they would let no light pass. Because nothing moves faster than light, stopping light is like stopping time. Ellens attempted to stop the forward motion of time in a live performance by creating a condensate of documentation. For each action, everything that happened so far was documented. Therefore the intervals between the live actions grow until the audience waits for hours, days, months, and eventually forever for the performance to proceed.

Six Saints: Tycho Brahe and Six Saints: H.C.Ørsted
At Hitparaden 1, Ellen Friis presented “Six Saints: Tycho Brahe and Six Saints: H.C.Ørsted”. As the last part of the series, Ellen presented two performances simultaneously. One happened only in space while the other happened only in time. The performances were dedicated to Tycho Brahe, who lived in a feudal and static society with no clocks, and H. C. Ørsted, who regarded energy and change as the worlds true nature. The ideas of the two scientists were translated into two works presented simultaneously. Both works were interpretations of a danced choreography that Ellen Friis bought from the company DON*GNU, and which no one but her will ever see.

Still-life (after Wilhelm Bendz)
For the video series “Now and Again”, Ellen created the video performance “Still-life (after Wilhelm Bendz)”. It investigated the artificial (eye) contact between observer and artist in a performance, that is not live, but recorded. The video was inspired by the tradition of self portraits, Trompe l’oeil and Stillleben in the history of painting and of the painting “En ung kunstner betragter en skitse i et spejl” (1828) by Wilhelm Bendz in particular.

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Installation view. Photo Gert van der Pumperlei.

Ida Bruns Attituder
This Performance Lecture and Virtual Reality experience, designed by Live Art Denmark for Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen, takes the spectators back to the world of Ida Brun (1792-1857), hostess of salons for artists and politicians in Copenhagen. Fascinated by the then new ideas of democracy, she did her best to introduce them to the Danish public. But it were her so-called attitudes that made her famous. She would mimic famous greek and roman statues with her own body, admired throughout Europe, by the likes Goethe, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Madame de Staël and many others. She could be called one of the worlds first performance artists.

In the period correct ambience of Thorvaldsens Museum Live Art Denmark paid tribute to Ida Brun and brought some of her attitudes back to life, in both carbon and virtual realities.

About the Artist
With a background in stage design (Akademiet for Scenekunst, Frederikstad, Norway) and a diploma in Interdisciplinary Arts from the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (2005), Ellen Friis has an unconventional approach to the basic matters of time and space. She wonders how various time structures affect or change the space and the narration of live performance. In her works in theatres and museums in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Finland, she investigates performance combined with recordings to see what happens if time runs backwards, slow, or not at all.

More info on Ellen and her works is on her website.

Om liveart_dk

Liveart.dk was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen to promote the discussion, documentation and development of live art in Denmark. The organisation is equally inspired by the imaginative and entertaining English Live Art tradition as by the theoretical and political German theatre tradition. We have organised 10 large international festivals of Live Art for kids and adults since 2004, and over 40 discussion events, books, video series, symposia and more in the field of live art, performance art, art criticism and documentation. We collaborate with theatres, music venues, art museums and festivals in Denmark and internationally.