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Vibeke Tandberg: Old Man Dancing. Photo: Henriette Berg-Thomassen. Courtesy of Vibeke Tandberg and OSL contemporary
Vibeke Tandberg: Old Man Dancing. Photo: Henriette Berg-Thomassen. Courtesy of Vibeke Tandberg and OSL contemporary

Press release -

Vibeke Tandberg’s newest film, Old Man Dancing, premieres Saturday 25 September

Norwegian artist and author Vibeke Tandberg’s newest film, Old Man Dancing, premieres Saturday 25 September at 20:00. The premiere is a collaboration between the Astrup Fearnley Museet and the Norwegian Opera & Ballet. In addition to the screening there will be a live performance at the Astrup Fearnley Museet and a digital film premiere on the Opera’s website that same evening.

Old Man Dancing depicts the Russian ballet dancer Maria Kochetkova performing while wearing the lifelike mask of an old man. Kochetkova’s performance is a mixture of improvisation and classical ballet directed by Tandberg with music composed by the Norwegian band Ulver.

This particular mask has a long presence in Tandberg’s artistic career, appearing in both major and minor roles and in various media—from photographs to plaster and bronze casts, as well as in witty Instagram film clips. The artist bought the latex mask in 2003 and began the Old Man series while pregnant with twins. Taking the formal possibilities of her own heavily pregnant body as a point of departure, the artist transformed into an old man in Old Man Walking Up and Down a Staircase (2003), an artwork comprising 114 photos and a Super-8 film. Tandberg has subsequently featured the Old Man mask in several other works, and its history is described in her essay collection Uvilje(2019).

In theatre masks have traditionally been used as a tool to transcend human existence and to embody other realities. When Kochetkova donned the mask in the film Old Man Dancing, she became the first person besides Tandberg to give Old Mana body. The dancer’s interpretation of the mask creates an experience of stark contrasts in which the beautiful and the repulsive meet the lyrical and bizarre. Kochetkova imbues the old man with a touching sense of duality, revealing interactions between decay and renewal, youth and age, life and death, male and female. The film thus introduces a new beginning and a new life for Tandberg’s Old Man.


About the artist:
Vibeke Tandberg (1967) is a Norwegian artist and author. She has an MFA from the Department of Film and Photography, Göteborgs Universitet and a BFA from Department of Photography, Kunsthøgskolen in Bergen. She has exhibited extensively nationally and abroad since the mid 90’s. Her work is represented in a number of public and private collections, including Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Collection, New York. She was the winner of the Lorck Schive Art Prize 2017 and in 2019 she had her debut as play writer for the play Hunder at the National Theatre in Oslo. She has published five novels and a collection of essays on Forlaget Oktober. Her latest novel, Feber, was released July 2021.

About the dancer:
Maria Kochetkova (1984) is trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow and danced with The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer from 2007 to 2018. Kochetkova has performed as a guest artist with the Bolshoi and Stanislavsky Theaters in Moscow, the Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky Theaters in St. Petersburg, American Ballet Theater in New York, Rome Opera, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Tokyo Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Hong Kong Ballet and English National Ballet in London. Kochetkova has collaborated with choreographers such as McGregor, Dawson, Forsythe, Wheeldon and Scarlett, all of whom have created solo parts for her. In 2017, she was named Ballerina of the Year at the Premio Positano and was nominated for the British Critics' Circle National Dance Award for Best Female Dancer in 2014 and the prestigious Benois de la Danse Award in 2013. In 2008 she received the Isadora Duncan Dance Award for her Giselle, in addition to winning awards in a number of international ballet competitions.

About the musicians:
Ulver is an experimental Norwegian band that began its career in 1993 as a folk / black metal band. Later it switched to playing industrial metal, electronic music and classical works. The band is today signed to the record company HOM (House of Mythology). The musical work composed for Old Man Dancing and live performance is a collaboration with the string duo Ole-Henrik Moe and Kari Rønnekleiv.

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Stein-Inge Århus

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