Death Is Certain

Berlin (video version, 2003)

Cherries have tender skin, meat and a kind of bone inside them. Their juice is red like blood. When you treat them like humans sometimes treat other humans, then they become human themselves or at least animate objects, which invite you to identify yourself with them. Inspired by fairy tales, where sometimes objects come to life and so become a projection screen for your own experiences and fantasies. In the performance Death is Certain Eva Meyer-Keller has installed sweet cherries as her protagonists. The stalks are removed from the fruit, but they are not washed or stoned. Instead they are being killed. She takes care of this business manually, in a way which turns the everyday into something brutal. The viewer is reminded of deaths from films, but also the reality of executions, how they really happen: associations from individual and collective experience in the face of sweet death at the kitchen table.

Text about the video-version:
In the video-version of her performance, the Berlin artist Eva Meyer-Keller cuts up, fragments and burns cherries in a minutely finicky operation, subjecting them to numerous forms of torment. The fruits are stylised into subjects, and everyday objects become instruments for killing, which the viewer is inclined to associate with a torture scenario. Meyer-Keller alienates thumbtacks, plastic cups and pins, putting them to work on the cherries and so setting up the discursive framework for this game of vicarious roles. No one, it seems, can feel safe, for we all have concrete images in our memory – images from films, experiences, news items, matters that in the end lend their significance to these actions, bringing the cherries to life and making chocolates figure as a graveyard. The consistency and colour of the cherries seem particularly well chosen, making them an ideal symbolic vehicle for the experiments to which they are subjected. Meyer-Keller engages in a savagely ironic game with the collective and individual images of killing that populate the imagination of every individual. Here, she uses the cherry as a paradoxical stylised figure for the black humour that is involved.

Performance and film: Eva Meyer-Keller
Production: Eva Meyer-Keller
With the support of: Vooruit Gent, Stuk Leuven
Thanks to: Alexandra Bachzetsis, Juan Dominguez, Mette Edwardsen, Cuqui Jerez, Martin Nachbar, Rico Repotente
Duration: 35 min