The Guided Tour of the Exhibition: for Soprano and Handbag (detail) View full image

The Guided Tour of the Exhibition: for Soprano and Handbag

Joanna Dudley with William Kentridge

No expectation can prepare you for the performance of Joanna Dudley. She has created a creature as riveting as anything I’ve seen on stage. Her singing and vocalisation — yelps, throat stops and growls, often distorted into something akin to a theremin — is extraordinary, her conveyance of emotion piercing.

The Australian

Museum tours aim to bring the viewer closer to the work of art. On the other hand, any text that explains a work of art, automatically places it in the past, keeps it quiet, immobilizes it, muzzles it. With their collaboratively developed performance, William Kentridge and soprano Joanna Dudley work against the museification of the artwork. The performance A Guided Tour of the Exhibition: For Soprano with Handbag allows the images to defend themselves and resist their interpretation, as well as being an accompanying program of the exhibition and its refutation.

In 2016 with William Kentridge, Dudley developed The Guided Tour of the Exhibition: for Soprano and Handbag, a co-production between the Foreign Affairs Festival in Berlin and Martin-Gropius-Bau, where it was premiered. It has since been performed at the Whitechapel Gallery and The Print Room in London.

Joanna Dudley works internationally as a director, performer and singer, she creates music theatre, choreographs and creates installations. Her interdisciplinary approach has led her to collaborate with artists such as Seiji Ozawa, Les Ballets C de la B, Heiner Goebbels, Thomas Ostermeier, William Kentridge, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Falk Richter and Sasha Waltz.

Creative Team

Visual concept: William Kentridge
Director: Joanna Dudley

The Guided Tour of the Exhibition: for Soprano and Handbag

The dialogue she enters into with Kentridge’s spoken text, which in itself questions how we construct argument, is nothing short of brilliant… A hilarious parody of the absurdity of certainty, and in turn portraying an incredible clarity of thought.

Rebecca Partridge