WHAT IF – the making of a character

Photograph from video (Camera: Lisbeth Kovačič)

Text & performance: Anat Stainberg / Camera: Lisbeth Kovačič / Co-writing: Yosi Wanunu

WHAT IF is an identity-remake performance involving text, behavior and image. The core reference of the performance is an exhibition devoted to the life & work story of the unknown painter Ariella Steinberg (RIP);

This is the first major showing of drawing and painting from the unknown painter Ariella Shteinberg who lived in Tel Aviv with her family 1948 – 2010. The show charts work from her enigmatic career attempting to answer questions regarding the big void in her mid-career oeuvre, as Steinberg, like many female artists of her time, didn’t become the feminist artist we would celebrate today, nor did she become a key figure within a vibrant community of creative people, and hence didn’t achieve visibility for her work. In fact researchers are not decided who and if she really was..”. 

In the performance WHAT IF her daughter, performance artist Anat Stainberg experiments with the movement from reality, as we know it, to fiction, as we would have liked it. Stretching the ‘truth’, she considers the usefulness of the fabrications we generate in our efforts to appropriate our biographies, so they fit to our ideals.

Could re-making Steinberg’s story and identity as a cultivated feminist artist alter the self perceived identity construction of her descendants ..?.. 

The performance is a part of the exhibition FAMILY AFFAIRS; an ‘experimental arrangement’ on the subject of (artistic) heritage. Initiated by: Hanna Schimek, with works from: Moya Hoke, Daniel Pöhacker, Hanna Schimek, Monika Schwärzler and Anat Stainberg.

Presented at the Medienwerkstatt Wien, October 2020.

Support: MA7 and BKA