Hamburger Bahnhof

Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation

26 Jan - 11 Mar 2007

January 26th – March 11th 2007


Conceived as allegory based loosely on the ancient myth that follows Romulus’ founding of Rome and inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s Intervention of the Sabine Women, the Rufus Corporation’s Rape of the Sabine Women is a riff on the original story of abduction and intervention, in which Romulus devises a plan to ensure the future of the empire. The Rufus Corporation has re-envisioned the myth as a 1960’s period piece with the Romans cast as G-men, the Sabines as butchers’ daughters and the heyday of Rome allegorically implied in an affluent international style summer house.

The Rape of the Sabine Women was shot on location in Athens and Hydra in Greece and in Berlin, Germany in 2005. The projection and sound installation opens at The Hamburger Bahnhof-Berlin on January 25th, 2007 and will run for six weeks. The Rape of the Sabine Women opens in New York City for one week on February 21, 2007 running through February 28th at the IFC Center Cinema, generously presented by Creative Time.


Conceived in an operatic five act structure the film opens in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum where the men meet a speechless soothsayer in the form of a museum guard. They learn their fate via tour headsets that relay hypnotic electronic sounds. In the S-Bahn (Nordbahnhof) the men hear women’s voices. The women appear as mirages – figments of a collective imagination. In Act II, the convention is completed in Tempelhof Airport, played out by the men moving in unison to the click of taps and strains of bouzouki. The 3rd Act culminates with the men carrying out their charge, stealing women in the modern Agora – the meat market in Athens. The piece turns on Act IV where our protagonists appear living in a classic modern 60’s dream house overlooking the Aegean. The implication of ‘better living through design’ is the paradoxical backdrop to the relationships that begin to unravel within the wrenching perfection. The inhabitants of the house become estranged. Infidelity is implied. The men, who initially came together to steal from strangers, take from each other. The women become the dominant players. In the final Act at the Herodion Theatre – the site of a massive chorus lead by Jonathan Bepler – the tension borne in the house erupts. A fight becomes a riot. The intervention of the women is fraught. The chaos that ensues does not end, but transforms the designed perfection into nothingness.


Founded in 2003 during production of 89 seconds at Alcázar, the Rufus Corporation is an ad hoc group of artists, dancers, actors and musicians who, under the direction of Eve Sussman, create videos, photographs and live events. For The Rape of the Sabine Women, founding collaborators Eve Sussman, Nesbitt Blaisdell, Helen Pickett, Annette Previti, Walter Sipser, Claudia de Serpa Soares, Jeff Wood, Karen Young and Sofie Zamchick traveled to Greece to begin rehearsals and were joined by Popi Alkouli-Troianou, Kostas Beveratos, Marilisa Chronea, Stergios Ioanou, Grayson Millwood, Katarina Oikonomopoulou, Rosa Prodromou, Antonis Spinoulos, Christos Syrmakezis, and Sotiris Tsakomidis to create the work in improvisation along with the film and television star, Themis Bazaka, and acclaimed vocalist Savina Yannatou. Jonathan Bepler , who also scored 89 seconds at Alcázar, asked musicians Algis Kizys, Eric Hubel, Geoff Gersh, Craig Rodriguez, Scott Moore and Bradford Reed to accompany the group to Greece for production, where they recorded the music live during the shoot. Photographers for the production were Benedikt Partenhiemer, Ricoh Gerbl and Bobby Neel Adams.

The Rape of the Sabine Women is a Rufus Corporation Production generously funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds-Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof · Museum fuer Gegenwart · Berlin, The JF Costopoulos Foundation-Athens, Roebling Hall Gallery-New York, Richard Massey and Ninah & Michael Lynne. Additional co-production support has been provided by: The Nasher Museum of Art, Arario Gallery-Seoul, The New York State Council on the Arts.
Corporate Sponsorship has been provided by: Panavision-London, HD Cinema, Final Frame-NYC, Ordino Casting Services-Athens, Microtek Gefell-Germany, Apple Computer Inc., DuArt Film & Video, LaCie-USA, Sony Professional Media, Dreamhire LLC, Tekserve, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company-Greece, Final Frame- NYC, Merc Clothing-London, Marriot Hotels-Berlin, PastyFamily,
Blackmagic Design and MAC Cosmetics.

© Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation
Disintegration at Hydra
Photographic still from “The Rape of the Sabine Women”, 2005 Photo by: Ricoh Gerbl

Tags: Eve Sussman