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©Valérie Reding

DOING HER - the slur edition


a long-durational interactive performance (5 hours)

concept, performance, photography, costume, make-up and set design 

Valerie Reding



Tropikahl Pussy aka Ivy Monteiro


Nicolas Dubosson


Atelier Hermann Haller, Zurich

„DOING HER“ is a multidisciplinary project that combines a series of six photographs, a video installation as well as a long-durational interactive live performance. It has been created upon invitation by the curators Julian Denzeler, Lorenz Hubacher and the city of Zurich as a response to and in dialogue with the works of the sculptor Hermann Haller (24 December 1880 - 23 November 1950), who is particularly known for his innumerable, often times life-sized sculptures devoted to the study of the female nude.

The Concept

Wanna do her like Hermann Haller? Wanna be done by her?

DOING HER - like Hermann Haller. An interactive one-to-one performance. The setting of a photo shooting. An endless loop of construction and destruction. A consensual power play between the muse and the spectator. One self-portrait taken by the performer as the trace of this transient encounter.

Through the project „DOING HER“ Valerie Reding wanted to explore her (female-perceived) body as material, question the stereotype of the feminine, passive muse in opposition to the masculine, active creator and genius as well as reverse the hierarchies and power relations between the performer and the spectator with their voyeuristic potential.



The Performance


One by one, the visitors could pick one of the original titles of Haller’s sculptures - without having seen any visual representation of them - and come into a little enclosed, intimate space, where each visitor was left alone with the performer Valérie Reding. Through negotiation, power play and exploration of the boundaries of each other, the performer would then attempt to recreate the chosen title and create a new version of Haller’s sculpture in interaction with the visitor, by using diverse materials (i.e. hair, ropes, glitter, body and acrylic paint, paper, holographic foil, plastic film etc.) as well as material from themselves (i.e. clothes, hair etc.). How much the performer would let the visitor do and how much the performer would take control of the situation would always depend on each individual interaction and its chemistry. When both the performer and the visitor were satisfied with the result, Valerie Reding would then proceed to take a self-portrait with a remote control. Each visitor - except for the first one - found themselves confronted to what has already been created by their predecessors and by the performer and had to take into consideration, that what they would do would have an influence on their successors. During the entire performance of five hours and roughly 30 interactions, the performer's body was in a constant and endless metamorphosis.

The performance was accompanied by live music, performed by the queer latinx performer Tropikahl Pussy.

The series of 30 self-portraits documenting the different stages of this never-ending transformation were then printed onto postcards and were exhibited at Atelier Hermann Haller.

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