Odalisque Variations

Odalisque Variations – or Doing Nothing in Public

Performance Project with Bernhard Schneider, Abi Tariq, Bettina Tornau

curated and guided by Andrea Morein

Saturday, Sep 24, 2022, 8 p.m

The project investigates the observing gaze on a reclining woman depicted on a chaiselongue, based on the pictorial representations of Odalisques in the paintings of the 19th century by Ingres, Delacroix - and in a later development also Matisse. The reclining 'Oriental' woman allows the gaze of the painter without making direct contact with him. One might say, she displays a non-reactivity to the male gaze, allowing the viewer to immerse him/herself in the depicted subject.


How do performers deal with this 'legacy' today? What questions arise from a performance of ‘doing nothing’ from today's perspective? How this goes against the dominant tendency and social pressure of being permanently ‘busy’… 'Doing nothing' in public is a challenge, not only for the performers themselves, but perhaps even more for the viewers... In Odalisque Variations the performers become the subject of observation and at the same time they also observe themselves...


This raises the question of what changes when we are being observed. Ever since quantum physics showed that all phenomena change when viewed from the outside. This applies also to the arts and has been a topic of a number of performance artists, recently. ‘Witnessing’ has also become an important field of experience in group and healing processes in recent years.


Another aspect is the "mirror effect" of being seen and seeing and their mutual influence and interaction in space.

Ultimately, the project also questions notions like 'Orientalism', the ‘Exotic’, the 'Otherness' in the embodiment of the female figure seen through the eyes of white male culture.

In 'Odalisque Variations' the performing artist can be male or female or any other gender definition… passive or reflective - exposed or introverted, giving rise to a broader sense of being in the moment.


'Odalisque Variations' is part of artist/curator Andrea Morein's research project on how artistic expression emerges from an embodied perspective; manifesting itself in the creative act as a contemplative, intimate space that is nourished by the source of non-doing.


Andrea Morein


Bernard Schneider

Naturopath, trainer and therapist in perceptive pedagogy according to Danis Bois. Osteopath and meditation teacher practicing in Berlin for more than 20 years. Researcher of the living, continuous studies of philosophy and theology.


Abi Tariq

born in Karachi; lives and works in Paris. He confronts questions of power, privilege, vulnerability and social expectation with his conceptual performance practice. He collaborates closely with Australian artist Honi Ryan on the international performance project ‘Silent Dinners’, and works as a coordinator for AFIELD, an international network of cultural changemakers.


Bettina Tornau

has worked as a contemporary dancer and choreographer. Trained at the EuropeanDanceDevelopmentCenter (Netherlands), she studied and researched Awareness in Movement with the Buddhist teacher Suprapto Suriyodarmo for many years. In the meantime, she mainly teaches children creative dance and, in addition to her practice as a coach, is involved with energetic healing work and shamanism.