Beyond Cinema: The Art of Projection: curated by Stan Douglas, Christopher Eamon, Joachim Jager, and Gabriele Knapstein, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
Beyond Cinema: The Art of Projection is a solid blockbuster of an exhibition: prominent artists are represented by some of their best works. A well-crafted blockbuster is a rare thing in the Berlin art institutional landscape, which unfortunately is still years behind London or Vienna. Attempting to distinguish their survey from the somewhat exhausted subject of “art and cinema,” the curators choose the idea of projection as their focal point.
Beyond Cinema is the third installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof composed of works from the controversial Flick Collection. Starting in 2005, in an agreement that will last seven years, this major publicly funded venue in Berlin will be used as an almost exclusive platform for the display of works owned by the German collector Friedrich Christian Flick. This is widely considered to be a somewhat dubious arrangement due to the origins of Flick’s personal fortune: his grandfather’s use of industrial slave labour in the Nazi era. Flick has exacerbated this fact by his refusal to pay reparations to families of the victims, an arrangement agreed to by others implicated in the practice (a group that includes Flick’s siblings). Extending the show are works from the massive San Francisco-based Kramlich Collection and other loans. Spanning the years 1963 to 2005, the show is a tour de force of highlights, from Doug Aitken’s technical virtuosity to Marcel Broodthaers’ 16 mm projections (technically humble by comparison, yet achieving twice the impact); there are many moments of deja-vu. Some reencounters confirm everlasting love, such as Monica Bonvicini’s Destroy She Said (1998). This installation brilliantly combines a horror setup of two walls with red backlight and various film-clips of devastated, panicking, vulnerable women. Or Valie Export’s Adjungierte Dislokation (1973), one of the pioneering works of expanded cinema. Using her body as a mobile tripod, Export strapped cameras to her chest and back, filming everything around her, while a third camera filmed her doing this. As well, Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho 0993) and Pierre Huyghe’s enigmatic and epic work L’Ellipse (1998) are still able to cast a spell on me.
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