Die zersägte Frau, Angelika Waniek; Foto Doris Dziersk

Die zersägte Frau | Angelika Waniek/Doris Dziersk

A solo performance by Angelika Waniek – created in collaboration with the artist and stage designer Doris Dziersk 

Does Angelika Waniek get sawed up or does she saw herself up? Does she have more (good) tricks up her sleeve? Maybe a floating over the stage? And what will Doris Dziersk’s over 2-meter-high washing brush do with the body of the performer? You can throw a lot of things on the body of the others. But what if it’s your own?

Angelika Waniek’s solo is a game with illusion. In an interaction of objects, body and language the invisible becomes visible. The magician Horace Goldin’s magic trick “Sawing a woman in half”, patented in the USA in 1922, is the starting point of the performance. A woman is dissected in her lower and upper abdomen and then put back together again. It is said that during the first performances, spectators are said to have fainted.

The female body and various forms of social projection on it are not only still virulent in magic shows and other stage formats, but also in painting, literature, film, computer games and science. Performance art of the 1960s and 1970s in Europe and the USA, represented, for example, by Valie Export, Marina Abramovic and Ana Mendieta, takes a counter position to this.

In this art-historical context, Angelika Waniek uses fictional and real stories to bring images of (female) bodies and their possible forms to the stage. Among other things, the audience is confronted with the ordeals that are carried out on a body and is put in the delicate position of being jointly responsible for the whole. In a setting in which the auditorium merges seamlessly into the stage area, Angelika Waniek deals with the two themes of “being a body and being exposed to social processes” and “media testimony”. She uses Waniek’s storytelling style, a narrative in object and language images, which earned her third place, not least in the competition “The best German dance solo” at euro scene Leipzig 2015.


Angelika Waniek (*1975) lives and works as a performer in Leipzig. She studied media art at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig and free art at the Muthesius Academy of Art in Kiel. Since the winter semester 2014/2015 she has been teaching at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig in the department of media art. In her solo performances, she analyses existing cultural and historical narratives connected to the respective performance and exhibition venues and retells them in a “Waniek’s” storytelling manner. In her work in the context of the visual arts, she overlaps with actors from the fields of literature, dance and theatre. Together with Martina Hefter and Ulrike Feibig she is part of the Leipzig performance collective Pik7. In 2016 the Free State of Saxony purchased performances for the first time through the State Cultural Foundation, including three by Angelika Waniek.

Doris Dziersk (*1973) lives and works in Leipzig. She studied fine arts in London and works as a visual artist and stage designer. Her works are characterized by a high level of context awareness: the location and theme of the work determine the medium and form to a large extent. She designs stage sets, installations and videos. She has collaborated with the choreographers and directors Meg Stuart, Enrico Stolzenburg, Peter Kastenmüller, Matthaei&Konsorten, Gesine Danckwart, Doublelucky and the Berliner Festspiele. She developed installations for X Apartments in Berlin and Caracas, for Steirischer Herbst, the C 60 Collaboratorium, at the invitation of raumlabor berlin and in collaboration with the visual artist Anke Philipp, with whom she developed, among other things, the redesign of the Leipzig Theatre Residence under the new direction of Thomas Frank. Doris Dziersk was awarded the Hamburg Rolf Mares Prize for her work in 2009 and the New York Bessie Award in 2012.