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Der Schamperl und das Mauermännchen (en)

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Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg, 19 May 2016


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Matthias Schamp and Karl-Heinz Mauermann with their alter egos: two hand-puppets. Their names are „the Schamperl“ and "the Mauermännchen" and they have a penchant for the history of performance art, to the exploration of which they are dedicated with verve and vehemence. In the steps of great masters like for example Beuys, Ulay, Valie Export, Hugo Ball and Gilbert & George, their Metaperformance-Miniatures emerge. Among others, the Orgies-Mystery-Theatre and the „Varsity-Wallowing“, a coyote named „Little John“ as well as the „Touch-and-Fumble Cinema“ enjoy a resurrection of a very special kind. And of course there is also „a criminal encounter with art“. Connect!

Slideshow photos: Bernd Beuscher, Lisa Keil, Sabine Niggemann, Claudia Heinrich

Essay on Metaperformance-Miniatures by Mathias Horstmann. Download HERE.

The opening of Metaperformance-Miniatures: The Schamperl and the Mauermännchen – both in the nude – stationed in the entrance. The audience have to squeeze past them. A remake of the famous Ulay & Abramovic action Imponderabilia (1977

The Mauermännchen declaiming the sound poem ’Caravan’, courtesy of Hugo Ball’s famous performance at Cabaret Voltaire (1916).

Mauermännchen & Schamperl as Singing Sculptures Gilbert & George performing the song 'Underneath the Arches' (1969).

The Schamperl as Joseph Beuys. A remake of the performance 'I like America and America likes me'. On this occasion, Beuys staged four days of co-habitation with a coyote at gallery Rene Block. At first cagey with aggression and fear, in the course of the action the coyote successively gained confidence, allowing a relationship between human and animal. This is demonstrated by the Schamperl, in interaction with a coyote-hand-puppet.

Tough guy Mauermännchen! – In the remake of The harder they come, by Jürgen Klauke, the  Mauermännchen, again and again, dances against brick walls. At the original performance at Melbourne National Gallery in 1978, Klauke danced until he broke some ribs and hurt his foot.

A fat plush teddy-bear is being slaughtered! Red confetti-gore is splashing! Entrails of knotted nylon hose wave in the air! The Orgies-Mystery-Theatre, developed in the 1960s by Hermann Nitsch, denotes itself as a “feast of fundamental excess-experience and resurrection, sado-masochist dissipation and catharsis, brutal dismemberment and harmonistic synthesis, invocation of myth as a contracted conception of the world as well as a psychoanalytical therapy. A descent into the realms of perversion and the unsavoury, all in the name of healing perception.“ (quoted from: www.nitschmuseum.at)
Gleefully in action: the Schamperl and the Mauermännchen.

The Mauermännchen performs the famous John Cage piece titled 4'33. After its premiere on 29  August 1952, some spectators didn’t even know that they had heard anything.

Quoting Klaus Rinke’s Primary Demonstrations (1969), the Mauermännchen connects time, space and mass.

Analogous to Peter Weibel (1968), the motto is: "The performance, as usual, will take place in a darkened room, although the cinema room has shrunk so as to admit fingers only. To view the film, or rather, in this case, in order to feel and perceive the film, the spectator/user has to insert his fingers through the entrance, into the cinema room. And then the curtain, which hitherto rose for the eyes only, will at last rise for the hand as well. The performance is free and g-rated.
"In an ordinary cinema you sit in the dark and watch someone doing it with someone, no one is watching you. Here, you yourself are doing it with someone in full light and many are watching you. Encountering your star, you are a star yourself."
And the Schamperl, whose private parts may be explored by touch in the cinema-box? Is enjoying the sensation of not being an ordinary cinema, but the star of a touch-and-fumble cinema in the tradition of Valie Export.

In the tradition of Ulay’s action (1976), to pinch Spitzweg’s painting of the "Poor Poet" from Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie in order to hang it on the wall of the flat of a Turkish immigrant working class family, the Schamperl grabbed a reproduction of the painting from a wall of Lehmbruck Museum. Faithful to Ulay’s motto: “There is a criminal encounter with art."

There is also a Video-Buddha work in the collection of the Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg. And there is at least one version of the series in which Paik himself performs as Video-Buddha. Taking this for their model, for the close of their Metaperformance-Miniatures the Schamperl and the Mauermännchen companionable sat down in front of the box.


More photos on the website of photographer Sabine Niggemann

Homepage Matthias Schamp

This has not been the first performance by Schamperl and Mauermännchen.