“Art and cinema”, according to Clemens von Wedemeyer, “are different languages that are related to one another. I am interested in both languages. Both of them together make it possible to find a practice that provides new spaces for new investigations.”
In his first major solo exhibition Clemens von Wedemeyer shows works from recent years. With the selection of works he explores a direction while simultaneously establishing references to the architecture of the Kunstverein building, which is regarded as one of the outstanding architectural monuments of the 1950s and is devoted to art and cinema.
To exemplify his interest in cinema, Clemens von Wedemeyer shows his early cinematic work “occupation” (2002). A large number of extras and a film crew come together at night in an unidentifiable location. The extras are confused by the film crews’ unclear instructions, and the film crew, which is busy tiredly and fearfully exhausting all the means of cinema, reacts the same way. With “occupation” Wedemeyer detached the audience, the film crew and the technical apparatus from its conventional (film) context, placing them in an absurd situation reminiscent of Beckett. The extras unwillingly and unwittingly become the main figures, the film crew operates like marionettes following an unwritten script. In the exhibition Clemens von Wedemeyer shows “occupation” for the first time as a 35mm film in the cinema, the consideration of which was its starting point.
Extracting a situation and transferring it to a new context is also found in Wedemeyer’s exhibition design. Transfered from the cinema situation to the exhibition space, the exhibition architecture designed by Clemens and Henning von Wedemeyer functions like the structure of a film. The exhibition walls serve as a division, as incisions between the different zones. “In cinema,” says Wedemeyer, “the division (the cut) is crucial. Fiction results as a division between the areas.”
The video work “Silberhöhe” (“Silver Heights”) appears to be removed from place and time, even though it is based on the scene of the “Silberhöhe” tower blocks in Halle, which were built between 1979 and 1989 for 40,000 residents and have lost over half the inhabitants since 1989. The camera follows the emotionally charged streets and looks into a model flat, where the credits from Antonioni’s “L’eclisse” are running on a flickering television screen. By citing the camera work and editing technique of the concluding scene from Antonioni’s film, the video transports the drama that does without people into the current situation of the decaying city district, thus creating a mental line between the two ends of the period of time, in which urban utopia was developed, built, lived and ultimately abandoned.
“Otjesd” deals with bureaucracy and waiting, telling of the fate of a young woman in the midst of a border region. Both films appear as though from an in-between world, in which the images do not allow surrendering to an illusion, even though they are far from documentary. This is more the way an absurd fairy-tale or dream is experienced.
In a space that Wedemeyer has inserted between the two projection spaces, it becomes clear how much fiction is needed to convey subjective realities. On display here are the genesis of the films, Wedemeyer’s preoccupation with the open, not yet defined space at the urban peripheries in East Germany, research at the visa application offices in Berlin and Moscow, and observations of a real film crew. I
The room opens up a view of the city of Cologne, thus also establishing an architectural connection with the apparently real of everyday life.
Finally, in the basement of the Kunstverein, another reference to Beckett shows up with “Ohne Titel (Rekonstruktion)” [“Untitled (Reconstruction)”] from 2005. What can be seen here is the “false” reconstruction of a dance, which Clemens von Wedemeyer filmed during a rehearsal of the dancer and choreographer Alexandre Roccoli during his solo work at the Villa Arson in Lyon. “Ohne Titel (Rekonstruktion)” is virtually a study of movement in film, in which the space and the body are shifted in an elementary way into the center, taking on an immediate, physical presence through the subsequently developed sound (with Thomas Wallmann).
The film works “occupation”, “Silberhöhe”, “Otjesd” and “Ohne Titel (Rekonstruktion)” were filmed by the cameraman Frank Meyer.
Clemens von Wedemeyer, born 1974, lives and works in Berlin and Leipzig. Exhibitions (selected): PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2006); Berlin Biennale, KW, Berlin (2006); CAC Brétigny-sur-Orge (2006); Galerie Meyer Rieger, Karlsruhe (2005); Kunsthalle Bremen (2005); Galerie Klosterfelde (2005); Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2005); Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2005); Kunstwerke Berlin (2004); Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris (2003).
A catalogue will be published for the exhibition with essays in German and English by Ekaterina Degot and Beatrice von Bismarck.
The catalogue will be presented on May 5th at 7 pm in conjunction with the exhibition discussion.
To accompany Clemens von Wedemeyer’s exhibition, Matthias Müller (filmmaker, Bielefeld/Cologne) has compiled a selection of experimental films, which will be shown on April 28th at 7 pm at the cinema in the “Brücke”.
Alexander Koch (curator and author, Berlin) in discussion with Clemens von Wedemeyer, following which Clemens von Wedemeyer will present a new film “rien du tout” (with Maya Schweizer).
5 May, 7 pm