Preis der Nationalgalerie 2015
(born 1978 in Gießen, lives and works in Frankfurt and Paris)
Anne Imhof combines various production strategies from sculpture, drawing, painting, video and performance in her work. Her multi-layered works draw on the history of performance in art and music in order to develop and extend the notion of performance. She investigates different methods of performance documentation, or addresses the rituals and secret semiotic systems of niche communities. Imhof choreographs movement sequences, gestures and language fragments of her performers into visual imagery that is subject to constant change. Her works are conceived in several versions, which she realises over an undefined period of time in different places and over time in differing variants.
Slavs and Tatars
September 11, 2015 – January 17, 2016
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
Christian Falsnaes induces mostly unprepared exhibition visitors to become participants in his interactively conceived performances. Together with the public he mirrors social situations, which allow fundamental behaviours and current societal issues to become visible. The interactions are often filmed and a compilation of selected sequences subsequently shown as an edited video work.
For his contribution Moving Images at Hamburger Bahnhof, Christian Falsnaes extends the possibilities of Performance Art still further: with the work The Title Is Your Name (2015) and the eponymous work Moving Images (2015), the artist creates ‘immersive’ situations, in which filmic work, exhibition space and performance are interwoven. In this way, presentation and representation, the materiality of performance and its transformation into other media, as well as bodily presence and filmic documentation, merge.
The works of Florian Hecker dramatize synthetic sound as the ‘immaterial’, in that they combine spatial compositions, sonic performances as well as installatively arranged loudspeaker systems and architectural elements into unexpected multisensory spatial experiences. The whole room becomes a resonating body.
At Hamburger Bahnhof Florian Hecker shows his new work Formulation (2015). The bases for this project are his prior works A Script for Synthesis (2013–2015) and Reformulation (2014). The constellation of newly produced and reformulated chapters, sequences and compositions is presented by the artist in a sculptural-architectonic staging modulated to the exhibition space.
Anne Imhof reflects on neoliberal society in meticulously composed pieces. She arranges her temporal images from ‘durational performances’, often brutalist sculptural elements, as well as delicate drawings on paper, silk, aluminium or Dibond. For her work, Anne Imhof explicitly rejects conventional distinctions between a live event, its documentation, and the objects involved. Because the movements of the actors are part of her cool and sparing arrangements, the choreographies, a few hours long, are shown several times during the course of an exhibition. Between the performances, the installative arrangements in the exhibition space testify to the physical and social coordination processes of the performers, and also mark their absence.
The practice of the artist collective Slavs and Tatars consists equally of installations, objects, publications, lecture performances and subversive strategies of communication. Political, sacred, and pop cultural elements are deployed to explore semantic as well as political potentials of language and cultural identity. The artists’ particular interest lies in the region ‘east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China’, described by them as Eurasia. This complex and expansive area serves as a platform to highlight unlikely affinities as well as distinct differences. In this context, viewers are invited to perform the ‘metaphysical splits’ by trying to accommodate conflicting ideas and sensations drawn from opposite ends of the cultural, religious, historical and emotional spectrum.
Documentary, or feature film? Political film, or metaphysical drama about the loneliness and forsakenness of the human being in this world, inhospitably contrived and ravaged by humans themselves? Never mind.
This film is not a narrow either-or, rather it moves within the intellectual-artistic sphere of the broader as-well-as. Its categorical unclassifiability unsettles; the precision of its form and the composition of its images does this too. Thus they deny a monopolising and banal interpretation.
A film about us all in a future that has long since begun and painfully foreshadows that besides our loneliness, besides our lack of utopia, and our inability to simply successfully love – we will die of thirst in a desert world without drinking water: the consequence of our inner drought of constructive concern about our surrounding and shared world, and our desolation regarding visionary ideas and realisations of a sustainable way of living.
An important film which raises awareness and unsettles and clears the head for that which is worth telling and considering; by a director, Bastian Günther, who without a doubt deserves this prize for his film “California City”, and who, together with his team, has earned the appreciation and recognition expressed here.
Dr. Eva Kraus