Perfor­mance docu­mented on video, English, 1 hour Trailer 5 minutes
DVD compi­la­tion of all the Avant-Garde Dating” trailers with German subti­tles, 40 minutes was put together 2009
2007 (29.9) Orig­inal concept Tanya Ury’s, devel­oped and performed by Laurel Jay Carpenter and Tanya Ury, during the Avant-Garde Dating” week, 27.9. – 3.10.2007, for Art Forum, The New Life Shop Art Gallery, Choriner Strasse 85, Berlin (D)
2007 (30.11. – 11.1.2008) Included in the exhi­bi­tion In Pursuit: Art on Dating” at the ISE Cultural Foun­da­tion Gallery, New York (USA) is a computer repre­sen­ta­tion with all video trailers from the week’s resi­dency in the New Life Shop Art Gallery, Berlin (D) www​.isefoun​da​tion​.org
Avant-Garde Dating was a Wooloo concept by the artists/​curators Sixten Kai Nielsen & Martin Rosen­gaard www.AvantgardeDating.c…
An article by Simon Hoegs­berg on Tanya Ury’s and Laurel Jay Carpenter’s part­ner­ship during the Avant-Garde Dating“ week (27.9. – 3.10.2007) has been presented in the Danish maga­zine Samvirke”, March edition 2008. There is an English trans­la­tion on Hoegsberg’s website: www​.simon​hoegs​berg​.com

www​.simon​hoegs​berg​.com — article as PDF

Avant-Garde-Dating – a collec­tion of works:

I wish to begin with a defense of the term climac­terium’ which has made its way into medical dictio­naries only very recently. The word was prob­ably so neglected because of its hybrid, incor­rect forma­tion. It is derived from the word climacter’, which means the round (or the bout) of the ladder’; thus, climac­teric’ refers to some­thing or some­body being around the top of the ladder and starting on the way down. Hence the popular term change of life’ is a mean­ingful trans­la­tion of the medically often used, if linguis­ti­cally haphazard, climac­terium. It desig­nates a partic­ular period in life char­ac­ter­ized by the termi­na­tion of the repro­duc­tive period in women and is usually asso­ci­ated with the gradual cessa­tion of the menstrual func­tion — the menopause.” Climac­terium: A Devel­op­mental Phase Therese Benedek, M.D (1950). Psycho­an­a­lytic Quar­terly, 19:1 – 27

Tanya Ury has many scars on her body, traces of past pain; Laurel Jay Carpenter says she has no such wounds. Ury’s scars are healed over; there are no longer traces of blood. Ury is in the menopause; her blood does not flow – she is aware of a sense of disem­bod­i­ment. Carpenter is at a premenopausal stage. They are 56 and 39 years old respec­tively. In the art world there is a great silence surrounding the subject of menopause.

Tanya Ury


In Climacter Tanya Ury, wearing a white dressing gown, relates stories about her wounds that having been staunched resulted in scars, from top to toe of her body. Laurel Jay Carpenter dressed in black, acts out these stories by marking her own body with a thin, red, pen-like lipstick. This reverse” passion of stages of the ladder (climacter) down­wards is the instruc­tion in expe­ri­ence of a mother figure to the younger daughter figure, in prepa­ra­tion for the Change”.

Both Carpenter and Ury have created works that recall alchem­ical tradi­tions, where blood is trans­formed into gold: Carpenter has employed the colour red and a suggested blood­line in her perfor­mances Red Crest, Red Woman and Maiden, Mother, Crone; Ury has employed gold in the art works Golden Showers and Blue Danaé 1 & 2.

Laurel Jay Carpenter’s photo Cervix taken when she was working as a Gynae­co­log­ical Teaching Associate1, was also displayed together with Tanya Ury’s Blue Danaé 1, a photo­graphic image of her geni­tals covered in gold leaf, in the New Life Shop Art Gallery during their perfor­mance week.

Tanya Ury submitted to Avant-Garde Dating under the pseu­donym Loreley” (an alter-ego that she adopted in the mid-nineties):
www​.wooloo​.org/​l​a​urelj… was the coin­ci­den­tally very similar Wooloo website link of Laurel Jay Carpenter when she submitted to the New Life Shop Art Gallery, Berlin. They were picked to spend a week’s resi­dency together from 150 people (2 other couples also lived and made work in the gallery at different times).

Laurel Jay Carpenter and Tanya Ury have common themes. But in Climacter there is merely an exchange of ideas; only Tanya speaks – Laurel is silent. The performers do not even touch each other. Laurel touches herself with the red, lipstick pen when she draws the line of pain and she inserts this into her vagina to emulate Tanya’s descrip­tion of the inser­tion without narcotics of a metal rod into her womb during a medical examination.

lesser is me more or less, a previous work of Ury’s also alludes to gener­a­tional differ­ence by scar tissue. The two protag­o­nists in the photo­graph Lesser Ury and Tanya Ury are sepa­rated, or joined as the case may be, not only by 89 years, but also the repre­sen­ta­tion of a scar divides the picture.


The Art Forum Berlin theme for 2007 (during which the perfor­mance week took place) was About Beauty”.

The video trailer made from Climacter is about Ury’s number tattoo, a different kind of scar”, to which the tattoo artist added a barcode (both tattoo designs being remi­nis­cent of the concen­tra­tion camp regis­tra­tion of WW2 in Germany); Tanya describes how poorly the tattooist drew her number tattoo, adding however that:

It’s not about beauty, in fact the fact that he’s done it so badly is absolutely appropriate.”

Tanya Ury

1 That cervix photo was actu­ally taken for a poten­tial artwork, never real­ized. (Photo by: MARA TRACHTENBERG.) It was able to come about because of my work as a Gyne­co­log­ical Teaching Asso­ciate in which specially-trained laywomen provide a manda­tory work­shop for 2nd year medical students and nurse prac­ti­tioners and prac­ticing Physi­cian Resi­dents teaching them how to provide thor­ough, respectful and comfort­able breast and pelvic exams on our own bodies. GTAs serve simul­ta­ne­ously as the models and the instruc­tors. From this expe­ri­ence I was able to teach Mara to insert the speculum to get the photo. I think it would be dated 2003.” Laurel Jay Carpenter, from an email of 7.10.2007

Climacter, 29th September, Tanya Ury’s number tattoo story, 5 minutes


2007 (27.9. & 1.10) Live perfor­mance. Orig­inal concept Tanya Ury’s, devel­oped and performed by Laurel Jay Carpenter and Tanya Ury, during the Avant-Garde Dating” week, 27.9. – 3.10.2007, for Art Forum, The New Life Shop Art Gallery, Choriner Strasse 85, Berlin (D)
2009 (25. – 26.3) March 25th, 6 p.m. SSC 026: video and power point presen­ta­tion (short version): Avant Garde Dating and Avant-Garde Dating the video, guest lecturer, Depart­ment of Crit­ical Studies (German), Faculty of Creative and Crit­ical Studies, Univer­sity of British Columbia, Okanagan (CAN)
press as PDF


Perfor­mance Artists: Laurel Jay Carpenter

Tanya Ury

Camera & edit of trailers: Menachem Roth
Camera 2: Martin Rosen­gaard
Text infor­ma­tion: Tanya Ury
Subti­tles translation: Tanya Ury

Amin Farzanefar

Avid edit of DVD trailer compilation: Rainer Nelissen
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