‘Exposing the rules of my twelve-year-old world, brings back, for a short time, the feeling of constriction I have in my dreams.’

(Annie Ernaux – Shame)


Photographer Franzi Kreis uses an enlarger to project portraits of a girl, taken with an analog medium-format camera, onto large-format photographic paper — making visible before everyone’s eyes only those parts she brushes with developer fluid. One watches her with fascination.’ 

Thomas Trenkler, Kurier

Fortunately, no one has ever taken a cell phone photo with flash during the performance.

All the pictures in the exhibition were developed on stage, in the “darkroom” of Vienna’s Volkstheater. At the beginning of last year, I was invited to develop an analog photographic experiment: a lively stage set for the production of “Annie Ernaux – Shame”. The result is an installation that is created live at each performance, is never repeatable, and disappears before the audience’s eyes at the end. 

Working with Ernaux’s text is fascinating. More than twenty performances have passed since the end of October 2022, and each time I discover new gaps, edges, hidden spaces in between. Last but not least, this is discharged by the glances that Friederike Tiefenbacher and I exchange during the performances. As I look through negatives in the red twilight and stir in the chemicals, it feels like we’re both uncovering something on our very different artistic paths.

 The text chooses a traumatic experience as its starting point: the father, who threatens the mother with an ax in front of twelve-year-old Annie’s eyes. The interesting aspect is that the story-teller doesn’t stay in the role of the victim. For me it’s much more about the question of how I became who I am and how I can assume responsibility for my life and my future. Stage fright plays as big a role in the creation of the images as darkness. Using a historical enlarger, I project medium-format negatives of 10-year-old Alva Kerlin, who has joined me on a journey to 1950s France” (costume: Mona Ulrich).  At the end of each performance the lights get turned up and most of the created photos disappear into blackness.  

This exhibition consists of the saved ones. 

Works: 50x60cm, 30x40cm, 30x50cmi

with Friederike Tiefenbacher, Live photo installation, photography, photo-lab: Franzi Kreis, girl: Alva Kerlin, director: Ed. Hauswirth, costume: Mona Ulrich, sound design: Florian Kmet, dramaturgy: Matthias Seier