NATHALIE VANHEULE


'The Giftshop'

Performance made for the exhibition 'Grand Tour' at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, 2003. Performance about why we give to people. Why we smile so often. Why does it help to smile and be good... even if you don't feel like. Even when you would like to cry. Nathalie Vanheule: "In the performance I smile, play and give compliments and nice words to the audience. They melt like butter. Everywhere they feel beauty and harmony, even when it is tortured beauty or fake harmony. And then, suddenly, I start to demonstrate a thing you can put in your mouth (a buckler) to reach the perfect smile. The only thing that happens is that your mouth hurts and lightly starts to bleed. You produce a lot of saliva, so you smile and drool at the same time. We are all caught up in our own structures from time to time, trapped in our own web of being friendly and smiling." Relating to the theme of emotional labour.

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