Color Field Phaedra, 2018

The radical geometry of the Color Field paintings prompted Aëgerter for an intervention where the uncontrollability of human emotions would leave a trace on its surfaces.

Aëgerter asked Chris Nietvelt, one of the best actresses in the Dutch language area for classical tragedy, to perform monologues from Jean Racine’s famous play Phèdre (1677) in front of three famous Color Field paintings from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

The geometry of the paintings- by Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, and Kenneth Noland – stand in stark contrast to the actress’s movements as she plays a person on the verge of madness, while Phèdre faces up to an impossible and unrequited love. In Aëgerter’s photographs of this performance the paintings look rather softened as by an eraser or a cloud of smoke.