They Shoot Horses

Velvet curtain, nails, 2200 x 450 cm, 2017
 

 ‘Within this piece of architectural heritage, a giant curtain perforated with nails is being exhibited. The velvet fabric is reminiscent of the kind of curtain that falls after a stage performance in a concert hall. This luxurious and comfortable splendour stands in sharp contrast to the cool hardness of the nails that pierce the fabric. The installation references both the iron curtain that blocks the Centre’s entrance, and the way that fences raise everywhere in the world.’ 

They Shoot Horses and alludes to the 1935 novel by the American writer Horace McCoy, that Sydney Pollack made into a film starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin in the 1960s. The story about a couple that takes part in a dance of endurance, was inspired by the dance marathons that were organised during the Great Depression in America in the 1930s. People were hungry and took part in marathons of this kind for the free food and the chance to win a cash prize.’

In the archive fragments that are presented across from the velvet curtain, you can see how couples would sometimes dance for ten days straight until they collapsed from exhaustion. In this, one can see a resonance with the situation in which many deprived people find themselves today. This was the first time that people were paying to see other people collapse.’