performance for 8 masked fake guitar players, 1 masked real drummer and masked audience.
premiered by ensemble perro andaluz at Hygienemuseum in Dresden, Germany.
persona – identity – icon
Presley – Kaufman - Cage - Sauer
in 2014 Nico Sauer participated in an Elvis Presley imitiation competition wearing a Nico Sauer mask and won the first prize with his interpretation of “Love Me”, originally sung by Presley in 1956.
during the final round, when singing the last verse
Well, if you ever go
Darling, I'll be oh so lonely
he experienced something psychiatrists wouldcall an “identical crisis”, loss of identity, time and space, as if his sould slipped out of his body, still perceiving both the physical and the mental but as seperat entities. Nico Sauer felt as if
was Elvis Presley, looking into a mirror, seeing Nico Sauer wearing an Elvis Presley mask.
it seemed as if that combined persona of Presley and Sauer that impressed the jury so much had already been a participatory phenomenon. here goes a very remarkable scene from “Wild at Heart” (1990) by David Lynch.
Nicolas Cage in his probably best role of his life playing Sailor, a teenage hero character composed of transfigured memories of an artificial American past à la Rebel without a Cause, driven by love for his girl. The surreal climax happens when he grabs the mic to sing “Love Me” for his girlfriend after saving her from being molested by a punk.
Nico Sauer then bought a showering curtain imprinted with the face of Nicolas Cage.
it was also that very same song that
, who’s pieces in particular deal with identity, persona, intimacy, dilettantism, craft and illusion, had performed in his famous Elvis impersonations.
Kaufman had always been
a big fan
of Elvis and even managed to ambush the King once to tell him that he wanted to become as famous as he was, getting blessed with Presley’s words: “
I Believe You Will, I Believe You Will
Presley later stated that Kaufman’s Elvis impression was his favorite one amongst all.
inside that Presley - Kaufman - Lynch/Cage triangle, Nico Sauer decided to further investigate on it in a piece commissioned by Dresden ensemble el perro andaluz in 2016.
Nico then took the karaoke version he had sung in the Elvis competition and stretched it to 15 min in length. he recorded short, fractured guitar samples, and his own singing, emphasizing and overstressing Elvis’ specific stylistics and distributed these sounds on 8 voices/tracks, that would later be played through 8 speakers built into guitars.
in the performance 8 players pretendingly play the guitars, getting cues when to move hands to sync with the music. a drummer plays the beat to the slow motion music, so slow it is hardly recognizable as a beat.
the 9 performers are installed through out the venue, allowing the audience to move around freely and experience a mirroring, unifying and alienating effect of persona: audience and performers wear Nico Sauer masks.
get your mask!
© Nico Sauer 2023