Friday, May 30, 2008

Jimmy Robert, L'education sentimentale, film still, 16mm, silent, 2005/06
rights and photo courtesy Jimmy Robert

Recorded Images history reactivating

Manon de Boer
Resonating Surfaces (2005), Khaled D. Ramadan Comrade Alfredo Neri (2006), Jimmy Robert L’Education Sentimentale (2005/06), Mario Garcia Torres A Brief History of Jimmy Johnson’s Legacy (2006), Clemens von Wedemeyer
Otjesd and The Making of Otjesd (2005)

Goran Petrović

Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide

The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide


Saturday, 15 March 2008

Text: Goran Petrovic

The screening show Recorded Images presents five contemporary artists with a different approach to moving image. The show is divided in two brief programs. The first presents works by Jimmy Robert, Mario Garcia Torres and Manon de Boer, who are exploring and reactivating the heritage of conceptual art practice. The second part introducing Khaled D. Ramadan and Clemens von Wedemeyer, puts a focus on the process of filming, editing and social issues.


The video A Brief History of Jimmy Johnson’s Legacy (2006) is inspired by Godard’s 1964 “Band a Part” sequence in which the group of snatchers run through the Louvre to determine the shortest time needed to escape. On that foundation, Mario Garcia Torres has collected a set of citations of artistic actions taken in the museum space. Documents of interventions, performances and film scenes, directly assumed from the archives of conceptual art practice, have been enriched with the final re-enacted scene of the brisk visit to the museum. By this approach, Torres is raising questions about the purpose of the museum and the way of and need for rereading gestures in different times and contexts.

Jimmy Robert’s 35mm silent film L’Education Sentimentale (2005/06) is addressed to the oeuvre of the Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader. Although assuming quotations from Ader’s fall films like the “Broken Fall” or the “Fall II”, Robert replays them with slight deviations, i.e. the fall would not happen. Moreover, these quotations are “bridged” with another reference from the history of art; the album cover of “Heroes” inspired Robert to a re-enactment in the form of a performance, just like Bowie’s 1977 album cover was inspired by Erich Heckel’s 1917 graphic “Roquairol”. The final result is the form of the film, built according to the intersubjective principle of dynamic connection of a variety of references, e.g. conceptual practice, Gustave Flaubert, Bas Jan Ader, Die Brücke, Heroes...

Unlike the previous two „performative documentaries“, Manon De Boer’s Resonating Surfaces (16mm, 2005) portrays one time, one city and one person by interlocking autonomous elements. Sounds, loose words, memories, images of a city and portraits are finally conjucted in the monologue of Suely Rolnik. As the film proceeds, Rolnik takes us to early 70's Paris, where she immigrated from São Paulo because of the Brazilian military dictatorship. By recollecting images and sounds from her personal memory, she simultaneously depicts the philosophical atmosphere of Deleuze and Guattari and the time of the 70s. Notwithstanding, through the separation of referential images, sounds and story, De Boer introduces elements of doubt. Such a particular milieu inscribed experience evoked by the story and the images in the eye of the observer.


Khaled D. Ramadan's film Comrade Alfredo Neri (2006) deals with the current problem of growing fascism in Europe, without ever revealing its fictional character. The mockumentary form of this film is based on an intricate dialogue between real and imaginary images which leave the truth of what we see unquestioned. The portrait of Alfredo Neri, a fictional spokesman of the skinheads’ movement, alternates with documentary material, photos, frames and quotations filled with various Nazi-symbols. Thus, through its manipulative character the film Comrade Alfredo Neri demonstrates the ways in which the media can be and are already being (mis)used.

Clemens von Wedemeyer’s 16mm film Otjesd (“Living”, 2005) unfolds in a single continuous shot, without cut. The camera follows actors who re-play regular scenes that could be seen in front of the German Embassy in Russia. Nevertheless, the scenes of the visa application procedure are reconstructed in Germany and performed by Russian immigrants. The effect of the unbroken flow of images recalls Tarkovsky and, more recently, Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” - yet not depicting the glorious imperial history but its contemporary social complexity. Beside acting on Russia versus the West, Wedemeyer’s interest in the film production process is equally relevant, as the film is accompanied by The Making of Otjesd (2005).