Frau Troffea


Frau Troffea

Etienne Eisele


“I did research about this Frau Troffea, and it’s not sure, but people think she was on LSD because she danced so much.”

Interview by L. Valena

Can you first describe to me what you responded to?

I received a poem. I did a lot of research about it. It's a poem about dance epidemics which happened around 1500 in Strasbourg. It's called The Call of Frau Troffea. It felt very rough and very old- the artist used a lot of old language, and I actually had to look up a lot of words because it's written so difficulty, and I felt like there's something very trippy about it- you can't really understand what's going on.

And how did that trippy quality make you feel? Where did you go from there?

I didn't really understand the message, so I tried to focus on the feeling of the poem, and I tried to catch it with the collage that I did. So, first I thought I would make a video about it, but the collage was a better option.

Is collage something you do often?

Not so often, but I thought that it would suit the feeling of the poem very well, because it had that trippy feeling. This roughness- this medieval lady, was not something you can show with a video very well.

Why is that?

Because video is something so new. Collage is very analogue. It's a very old thing, it could also be from that time. So I also used old paper that I found for the surface of the collage.

You keep mentioning this feeling of the poem, is that something you think you can put into words? Can you talk more about this feeling you were trying to express in the collage?

It felt like a very bad drug trip. I did research about this Frau Troffea, and it's not sure, but people think she was on LSD because she danced so much. It reminded me of some drug trip, or something like that. It was very lost, out of control.

Tell me more about your experience making this work. Where did these materials come from?

You can see where the pictures are from- I added the piece where I had cut it out on the collage itself. And I tried to find photos that felt like this feeling, but I can't really describe it. If you see the house on the upper side, it's a very dark shadow, but on the other side it's very bright- it's a combination of those two. All the photos I took out of old National Geographic magazines, and I really tried to use rough and unfiltered photography.

How does this relate to the rest of your work?

A lot of times I try to show where things come from- I think it's very important to show where things come from.

How do you usually do that?

It's always different. I don't do a lot of the same things.

Are you an interdisciplinary creature?


Did you enjoy this exercise?

I can't really say that, it was a lot of stress to find the right pieces. I found a lot of photography, but not even the ones I used fit very well, I would say, but I used them anyway.

What advice would you give to someone else?

I think the research that I did was very helpful, because at first I was absolutely lost about this poem, and I didn't know what's going on. But after the research I realized that the artist also did a lot of research, and that he tried to express the interpretation that he felt about this story. It's a real story, and I think that it's always important to know, because I didn't receive any explanation of the poem, I just received the poem.

Well, that's the point! But you're right- the previous artist did do a lot of research, and I think it's pretty interesting that you did a lot of research too! Is research something you enjoy? Is it usually part of your work?

I try to- that's also part of where things come from. I always want to know more about things, I can't really look at something by itself, I always have to know what it's made out of, and who made it. So this was very difficult!

Call Number: M9PP | M12VA.eiFra



Etienne Eisele is an interdisciplinary artist based in Switzerland.