Looking on, listening in: Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s Bete & Deise

If the question of biographical narration in art, literature or film is of whether the story is reliably told, in Dutch artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s almost feature‑length video work Bete & Deise (2012) the issue instead is the extent to which conversation can replace narration, functioning as engaged exchange. Bete & Deise approaches the issue of the self‑narration of historical experience by placing the artist’s two subjects, the women of the title, in direct relation to one another. It is a staging in which the artist and the viewer are outsiders looking on and listening in. 

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