Thievery and Songs
(2016, 22:40 Min.)
Thievery and Songs is made up of several interlocking narrative threads with no discernible hierarchy. A narrator betraying little emotion recounts his session of psychoanalysis where the therapist was remarkable less for his professional expertise than for his obsession with his patient’s Austrian origins. He tells the devastating story of a great aunt who, as a rural serf in the 1930s, suffered despotic treatment at the hands of a Nazi farmer, at the same time drawing parallels between Austrian post-war art and Catholicism and framing all this with a story about a Jewish dancer who fled to Mumbai in 1938. Apart from performances he filmed himself we see adapted photographs, clay models and drawings. These partly visualise what we hear and partly undermine it in absurd ways. Apart from the reflections on Austria, the video encourages us to explore deeper issues about memory, about how history is written and how identity is formed. The tone is one of gentle wit hovering on the verge of melancholy.
Gernot Wieland was born in Horn (Austria) in 1968. He studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His films have been shown, for example, at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Kunstverein in Kassel, the Kunsthaus in Graz and the Liverpool Biennial. Wieland has received a number of awards, most recently the EMAF Media Art Award 2019 from the German Film Critics. He lives in Berlin.
Eli Cortiñas is a video artist of Cuban descent, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1979. She was a guest professor at the Art Academy Kassel and the Art Academy Mainz and is currently sharing a professorship for Spatial Concepts with Prof. Candice Breitz at the University of Art Braunschweig (HBK). Cortiñas has been awarded numerous grants and residencies, including Fundación Botín Grant, Kunstfonds, Villa Massimo, Berlin Senate Film/Video Grant, Villa Sträuli, Goethe Institute, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Rupert and Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff among others. Her artistic practice can be located within the appropriation tradition, using already existing cinema to de -and re-construct identities as well as narratives according to new discourses. Her collage-like video essays and installations mix found imagery with documentary strategies. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at museums such as Museum Ludwig, Kunsthalle Budapest, CAC Vilnius, SCHIRN Kunsthalle, SAVVY Contemporary, Museum Marta Herford, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Centre Pompidou, Museum of Modern Art Moscow, Kunstmuseum Bonn and MUSAC et al., as well as in international Biennials and festivals such as Riga Biennale, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Mardin Biennale, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, International Curtas Vila Do Conde and Nashville Film Festival. She lives and works in Berlin.
Quella che camina, 2014
The point of departure for this work is the character of an ageing Rome prostitute from Amore che si paga, Carlo Lizzani’s contribution to the episodic neo-realist film L’amore in città (1953). Here Cortiñas departs from her earlier technique by building the video primarily around material she has shot herself. A key role is played, too, by sculptural constructions of her own making, exploring how a real object is translated into its cinematic equivalent. Cortiñas combines this with found footage to develop an associative montage of images and sounds, investigating her identity as a woman, a working-class child, a daughter and an artist.
The work "Quella che camina, 2014" was shown from 4.11.15 – 30.11.15 in the IBB-Video Space at Berlinische Galerie.
Weeks before Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th U.S. president, Dani Gal travelled to Washington D.C. to interview experts on American foreign policy. The experts, who stem from a broad political spectrum, shared their perspectives on foreign policy from think tanks, military offices and the CIA. The interviews approached issues such as American wars, Islam, the military industrial complex, cyber security and the notion of freedom. Ultimately, the interviews provide a soundtrack for scenes from an entire day in Washington D.C.
The camera gaze over the city is mundane and banal. Monuments, nature and people are given the same focus. This manner of filming the city provides an alternative to the iconic imperialistic cinematic representation of the American Capital.
By juxtaposing these non-iconic images with oppositional voices of strategy makers, those who promote certain agendas to the U.S. government and others who harshly criticize it, the audience can decide whether they want to see the U.S. as a hegemony or as a global power in crisis.
Electromagnetic fields in the city were recorded during filming as sound and then mixed with the general ambiance of the scenes. These sounds, which can only be heard using a special device, serve as a metaphor for the hidden forces that create what is called American power.
The work "Hegemon, 2017" was shown from 17.1.18 – 26.2.18 in the IBB-Video Space at Berlinische Galerie.
Dani Gal (born 1975, Jerusalem) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem; the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt; and in Cooper Union in New York. His films and works have been shown widely, including: 54th Venice Biennale (2011), The Istanbul Biennale (2011), New Museum New York (2012), Kunsthalle St. Gallen Swizerland (2013), The Jewish museum New York (2014), Berlinale Forum Expanded (2014), Kunsthaus Zurich (2015) Kunsthalle Wien (2015), Documenta 14 (2017), Centre Pompidou (2018).
Bigger Than Life
(2018, 30 min.)
Adnan Softic is a visual artist, director and writer. In his work Bigger Than Life (2018, 30 min.) he explores the urban development project “Skopje 2014”. In 2010 the Macedonian capital began to create a new “ancient” core. The government wanted to style the city as a cradle of ancient civilisation and a fountain of Europe. Numerous public buildings, museums and monuments were constructed with a classical feel, while existing edifices – including socialist architecture from the 1960s – were lent an “ancient touch” in the form of columns, balustrades and other features. Softic responded to this gigantesque and problematic venture with a musical film: in four acts he documents the imperial attitude behind the building project with humour and precision. Pathos is met with pathos and ironically framed. Alongside sometimes kitschy shots of the new buildings in all their splendour are scenes that blatantly expose their character as stage sets. Softic demonstrates how history is written and how regulating the (imagined) past is intertwined with a desire to control the present and future. He questions how relevant Antiquity is to modern-day Europe and who has the right to construct history, especially as this urban revision blots out Macedonia’s ethnic and cultural diversity. The linear, homogenous history it narrates excludes a large section of the country’s population.
The work Bigger Than Life (2018, 30 min.) was shown from 3.10.18 – 29.10.18 in the IBB-Video Space at Berlinische Galerie.
Adnan Softić was born in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Hercegovina) in 1975. He studied film and aesthetic theory at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, where he was a guest lecturer in film and time-based media. Softić has received various awards and scholarships, most recently the prestigious Villa Massimo residency. In 2018 Bigger Than Life won the 3sat-Förderpreis at the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen.
Is there someting else I’ve lost? (2011, 35 Min.)
Elke Marhöfer’s films cannot be ascribed to any established genre; the artist has developed her own very particular visual idiom. Her works contain neither linear narratives nor set protagonists. The stories Marhöfer seeks to tell might be seen as alternatives to anthropocentric blueprints for the world. She often examines specific ecological and cultural practices, choosing her own otherness as a point of departure. Another hallmark of her films is a constant awarenessthat images are never simple reflections, but always to some degree project a new reality.
In Is there something else I’ve lost?, 2011, Marhöfer considers the vegetable gardens on the outskirts of the megacity Wuhan (China), traditional examples of self-organisation. They will soon be sacrificed to the rapid advance of newbuild. The film experiments formally with the (a-)synchronicity of image and sound. This focuses attention on apparently trivial factors like everyday conversations between neighbours, illustrating the fast pace of change in urban China on a micro-level.
Elke Marhöfer was born in Adenau in 1967. Her works have been shown at numerous exhibitions and festivals, including the Kiev Biennale, the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taipei and the Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe. Fellowships include the Swedish Research Council, Berlin Senate and Akademie Schloss Solitude. In 2016 she was awarded her doctorate by the University of Gothenburg for a dissertation on Ecologies of Practices and Thinking. Marhöfer currently lives and works in Berlin and Kyoto, Japan.
This project has been facilitated by Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB).