Works with Live Art Danmark
Ellen is one of the founders and directors of Live Art Danmark and takes part in developing and producing all projects of our company. Her personal artistic contributions to our 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
At Berliner Luft 3 Ellen presented the first version of her performance “The Evidence”. Inspired by a sentence she read in a physics book which claimed we wouldn’t notice if time went backwards because so would our memory, Ellen performed all the movements of having breakfast backwards for a video camera and the live audience. Imediately afterwards, the recording was reversed and shown. A video recreation of the performance can be found here.
Six Saints: Lene Vestergaard Hau
In her performance-series Six Saints Ellen investigates concepts of time by six famous Danish scientists from the renaissance to the present. Subjects they investigated include 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 showed the last part of the series, which included the simultaneous presentation of two performances. One happened only in space while the other happened only in time. One was dedicated to Tycho Brahe, who lived in a feudal and static society with no clocks, and the other to H. C. Ørsted, who regarded energy and change as the world’s true nature. The ideas of the two scientists were translated into two performances, which were both interpretations of a choreography that Ellen bought from the company DON*GNU, and which no one but her will ever see.
Still-life (after Wilhelm Bendz)
For our video exhibition 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 in general, and by a painting by Wilhelm Bendz, “En ung kunstner betragter en skitse i et spejl” from 1828 in particular.
Ida Bruns Attituder
This performance lecture and virtual reality experience, designed by Live Art Danmark for Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen, takes the spectators back to the world of Ida Brun (1792-1857), who was famous for hosting 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 the poses of famous greek and roman statues with her own body. These temporary sculptures were admired throughout Europe, by the likes of 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 Danmark 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, that have been shown 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.