Evviva il coltello! (Es Lebe das Messer!) (Long Live the Knife!)

Ines Doujak

Klagenfurt, Austria, 1959
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  • Material: 
    Metal, fabric, paper and snakeskin
  • Descriptive technique: 
    A selection of stage elements made up of a video projected onto a snakeskin book, a suit with a mask on an embossed metal web, an audio recording and two folded leaflets, which can activate a performance
  • Dimensions: 
    Part 01: 78 x 57,5 x 8 cm / Part 02: 180 x 43 x 41 cm / Part 03: 75 x 30 cm / Part 04: 74 x 32 x 25 cm
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Viennese artist Ines Doujak examines elements of human behaviour as a structural cornerstone of society, her activity placed squarely at the point where artistic production meets political agitation. Eviva il coltello! (Es lebe das Messer!) (Long Live the Knife!) documents a performance at the Museo Reina Sofía on September 2nd 2010 as part of the exhibition Principio Potosí. ¿Cómo podemos cantar el canto del Señor en tierra ajena? (The Potosí Principle. How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land?) The performance featured a countertenor dressed in the pink suit that forms part of the piece, singing excerpts from a book on the evangelisation of the Americas, the Confesionario para los curas de indios. Con la instrucción contra sus ritos, y exhortación para ayudar a bien morir, published in Lima in 1585. The title of the piece is a reference to the words audiences shouted in admiration after hearing an aria sung by a castrato, so beloved of the European courts in the colonial period. The artist references the use of classical music as a ‘civilising’ influence, connected to the submission of indigenous peoples. Through these elements, the performance behind this work established transversal references connecting to one main thesis of the mentioned exhibition: the colonisation of Latin America as the starting point of a modernity in which discourse and resources from one continent run into another, altering their values and meanings.