27/06/2024 – 30/06/2024,

Silke Schönfeld: No More Butter Scenes

, Kreativ-Haus


Silke Schönfeld, No More Butter Scenes (still rehearsals), 2024


The video installation No More Butter Scenes (2024) examines the relationship between consent and intimacy in the context of the acting profession. In 2007, around 35 years after the premiere of Tango in Paris (1972), actress Maria Schneider spoke for the first time about the sexual abuse she experienced during the shooting of the infamous butter scene. Director Bernardo Bertolucci argued that it was only by not informing his leading actress in advance of how the scene with co-star Marlon Brando would take place that he was able to capture her authentic frustration and anger.

Such a cruel style of directing may seem like a relic from some archaic past. But the #metoo movement along with recent revelations about abusive working conditions on film sets and theatre stages paint a different picture. When it comes to investigating these cases of power misuse, the authenticity of the emotions of those affected is contested time and again. The credibility of actors is questioned not least because it is their profession to portray feelings. Above all, however, the credibility of traumatized people tends to be called into question if they are unable to conjure up the generally expected emotions—due to dissociation, for example.

The film is realized as a chamber play with Lola Fuchs and Mervan Ürkmez in the leading roles and is derived from the format of PR interviews. In this rather distinct media format—an indispensable tool in the promotion of any international blockbuster—the actors follow a script. It plays with the tension-laden space between the fiction we experience on the big screen and the staging of the actors as (supposedly) private individuals. In the film, the authenticity of the interviews is gradually deconstructed, while the protagonists increasingly disregard the rules set out in the invisible script. The verbal exchange of blows between them evolves on the physical level into a mixture of dance and combat. Exercises in intimacy coordination are staged as choreographies.

No More Butter Scenes uses an individual case to demonstrate the psychological complexity underlying the relationship between victim and perpetrator. Can we as the audience act as judge over the credibility of someone’s emotions? While we are being thrown back on our own prejudices, the roles of victim and perpetrator are constantly renegotiated between the actors. What role do the protagonists’ ambitions play? How high is the risk that one’s own ambitions will lead to complicity in the structural abuse of power?

Silke Schönfeld (born 1988) studied fine art at the art academies of Münster and Düsseldorf. From 2020–2022 she was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. Her works include the documentary short film entitled Ich darf sie immer alles fragen, which addresses an intimate, transgenerational trauma and constitutes the prologue to a long-term autobiographical project. In 2023, Ich darf sie immer alles fragen was awarded the prize of the NRW competition of the Short Film Festival Oberhausen and the Deutsche Kurzfilmpreis (German Short Film Prize). For Ruhr Ding: Klima, she realized the three-part video installation Family Business. Her work has been exhibited internationally in numerous art exhibitions and at film festivals, including the Goethe-Institut, Paris, CAN Foundation, Seoul, Garage Rotterdam, Building Bridges Art Exchange, Santa Monica. In weaving together personal stories with historical and social structures, she immerses herself into specific contexts and confronts her own prejudices. As a participatory observer, she focuses on people, be they individual protagonists or social groups. By following them, she documents memories, rituals, ideologies and processes of identity formation.

Curators: Daniel Huhn + Merle Radtke

A joint project with Filmwerkstatt Münster in the context of the International Festival for Dance, Theatre, Performance and Film FLURSTÜCKE 2024.

The programme of the Kunsthalle Münster ist supported by the Friends of the Kunsthalle Münster.