Running and falling/actress and stuntwoman
Angela Theunissen,
11 Jan 2005

Catalogue Paraplufabriek 005/06, Page 1.

'Running and falling - actress and stuntwoman'


Running and falling are the two actions to be shown in Anneke a. de Boer's (1969, De Bilt) installation. However, action does not play the prominent part in this room-filling series of photos, but more so the characters who perform these actions: a stuntwoman and an actress.

In a feature film, stuntwoman and actress are never to be seen simultaneously, in one frame. Both women portray the same character; the actress bringing emotional substance and face to the character, the stuntwoman providing a physical part without a face. It is the editing that enables the viewer to believe in the unity of two women, who are separate in reality.
De Boer's series of photographs is also some sort of editing, of montage, yet one which aims at the opposite of a film editing process - she brings or holds together all that would be artificially divided through editing. De Boer allows the spectator, as it were, to glance behind the points of editing.
Anneke a. de Boer uses film and photography as her mediums, but these mediums themselves are sources of study and experiment at the same time. Cinematic laws are rejected or refuted.
The earlier work 'Playing undetermined roles' (2003-2004) serves as a good example. It is a video installation which consists of 4 projections of non-stop loose fragments from the same setting.
A sequence of communication and concentration exercises during a professional training session forms the foundation of each fragment of film. The structure of film, in which scenes are shown one after another is abandoned; the individual fragments are situated in space.
The main focus of 'Running and falling' is, like in all of De Boer's work, on people's behavioural roles. The artist is fascinated by the ways people tend to adopt roles and, almost artificially and compelled by necessity, learn to adopt those roles. Behavioural roles enable us to get a grip on reality, to focus, to lay down structure and to reach goals.
The action within the scene that is being performed is easy: running, fleeing for something, something uncertain. Instead of showing a plot, the experience of the role of these two women with each their own profession, is central to this project. The stuntwoman does not act, neither does the actress perform stunts. The actress' focus is mental and the stuntwoman's is physical. Coming from different professional backgrounds, each has her own perception of reality. De Boer poses questions like: 'what does she look like before she falls?', 'what is she thinking?', 'can we detect some of her perceptions by looking at her physical expressions?', and most of all 'what does her face look like?'.