Phantom Kino Ballett is an audiovisual drama by Lena Willikens and Sarah Szczesny. On stage the artists perform a hallucinogenic audio mix to a 54-minute experimental music video, combining quotations from movie scenes, interview extracts and the spoken word with painting and collage in motion, including club-specific items like stroboscope and smog machine. Phantom Kino Ballett is sound fragment and painting in black theatre, Holly Woodlawn’s nervous breakdowns, stroboscope and dance music, arpeggiated anime, Mario Montez’ mobile, kinetic costume, Maria Callas’ Remastered digital content and smog machine.
As the Phantom Kino Ballett is, by self-concept, a processual piece of work, governed by the performance that places the way they use costumes, the sculptural interpretations of the stage, the specific musical mix as well as the integration of lights and smog. The world of the phantoms is constantly morphing. Under the black light, the painted bodies on the outfits are suddenly visible. By using those costumes, the artists disappear and the phantoms appear.
For more than five years, she has been in charge of long and sweaty Friday night parties at Düsseldorf’s free-spirited club/bar Salon Des Amateurs. She is also a dedicated member of the Cómeme record label and all its missions: her name is frequently on the label’s party bills and she runs the world famous monthly radio show Sentimental Flashback for Radio Cómeme. In 2015, she released her first solo EP Phantom Delia on Cómeme. Therefore, she produced six mystique tracks between droning EBM, ghost-house and no-wavish outernational grooves. The same sonic approach to music is significant for Lena’s live performances in the name of film, a thing she recently added to her artistic catalogue. As a debut, she prepared an impressive soundtrack for the Japanese movie Japanese Girls from the Harbour for the LiveSoundtrack Festival in Barcelona. In this spirit, Lena rushed into 2016 with a constant stream of new Sentimental Flashback radio shows.
Sarah Szczesny is a Cologne-based painter and sculptor. Her highly detailed and intricately fabricated works are driven by the ongoing exposure of the ambiguous conditions of painting’s materiality, the medium’s interferences and restraints in relation to other fields of artistic production, and a general distrust of hierarchies and hasty categorizations. For some time now, Sarah Szczesny has been working on a radio play series called Pastel Succubus, combining music with field recordings, interview snippets and movie dialogues. With Phantom Kino Ballett, Sarah Szczesny continues alongside Lena Willikens in this exploration of material rhetoric, to further unfold painting as an expanded field of production and a process of layering intervals of collage in motion pictures and repetition of handmade surfaces.