April 21, 2023 - April 29, 2023
Minjae Lee persistently confronts various moments of anxiety in his performances by processing his emotional world into expansive environments and installations. In doing so, he creates an architectural interior space that represents the human inner life and serves as the visual breeding ground for his performances. Both Lee and the audience are invited to engage with and confront anxiety in these spaces. For instance, Lee sent out the concrete "invitation to fear" for his performance Herzlich Willkommen in der Angsthalle (2019).
In Lee's works, the lighting situation acts as a decisive mood carrier and has now gained central importance in Lampen-Fieber (Stage Fright), both figuratively and literally. Lee is interested not only in the process of stage fright in the psyche but also in its semantics. For instance, he finds the German word "Lampenfieber" interesting because it is composed of two words: light and heat. The performers in Lampen-Fieber are supposed to put themselves in the emotional position before a stage performance, recalling all kinds of stage fright situations, all the way back to childhood, under the bright glow of whirring lamps.
Lee uses transparent curtains as an architectural boundary, each located under a lamp on the ceiling, cylindrically enclosing the performers. This boundary creates a soft spatial separation that can be seen from both sides, allowing the performers and audience to look into each other's personal spheres. As the tension grows into invisible matter, the scarce space behind the curtains slowly becomes denser.
Lee's performances are characterized by the tirelessness and intensity with which artists and performers work through a specific anxiety situation, as depicted in Stage Fright. Fear is a pulsating, often paralyzing, continuous looping movement, and Lee's performances are less about great moments of shock than the laboriousness of an ongoing process of confrontation and processing. Together with the artist, the audience enters a field of tension full of light and sound effects, an alternating bath of alienation and intimacy.
The emotional, real gestures and actions of stage fright are not usually found in the manuscript, but they belong to the narrative on the other side of the curtain, constituting its emotional paratext.