Artists: Nicole Degenhardt, Stine Gonsholt, Berit Hummel
Video / Performance / Drawing
Exhibition: 19 January to 16 February 2008
It is possible to perceive “Finite Repetition” as a series of linear processes, as chronological repetition – the bridging of past and present, as spatial repetition and choreography, as reproduction – as in the naturalistic drawing with its irregularities or the repetition of what is formally the same in the digital. For video artists, repetition is specifically understood to be a finite-infinite process, which produces dynamic relationships, whereby in each case the result of the repetition contains all qualities of the repeated and yet is an other.
Stine Gonsholt sets in drawing as conceptual tool, in order to correct reality with a type of “image adjustment”. By drawing over image sequences, the primary relationships are fragmented and thereby become model like. In the large scale drawings, the artist refers to city-planning interventions and urban changes. Gonsholt’s drawn animation „Untitled Adjustments“ uses a real figure from Kubricks “Space Odyssey” as guideline, anchored in our collective image memory, suggesting that it might be possible to decipher by creating a system of cross linkages and associative transformations.
Traditionally one understands time to be in a state of continuum, as in a constant flux of temporality passing, uninterrupted, through the present. In the early era of film, the interruption and repetition of reality was the primary moment, providing the viewer with pleasure. Viewing the theme in terms of the history of film leads to the cinematic pioneers Lumière and their raw takes of simple occurrences. These images, so called proto-films, do not tell a story, but instead only render action and atmosphere. Similarly, Berit Hummel’s video loop “Sah ein Knab’ ein Röslein steh’n” shows a woman wearing a white costume stepping out of a toilet hut. The automatic door closes behind her and she begins to sing a well known German folksong. Her voice is drowned by the noise of the traffic. Finally, she returns to the toilet house, and the door closes behind her. An additional aspect of time and repetition is dealt with by Hummel in “Untitled Utopia (White Tiger)”. Her video shows a white tiger sleeping in a stage-like artificial jungle. In addition, an audio collage transmits the sounds of a tropical rain forest. The tiger briefly lifts his head, looks around and continues sleeping, since there is nothing to discover. Time here becomes a present stretching into infinity, an unknown utopian world being day-dreamt by an animal.
By contrast, Nicole Degenhardt, in her work “Elective Affinities”, refers to a non-linear band of time. She constructs fictive dialogs from interviews and thereby turns traditional interview principles upside down. The artist hired teenage models for this reenactment and thereby points to the fact that the identity of a person is constructed from a social and a desired identity. Testing the correspondence of essence and appearance or of striving and achieving was the impetus for Degenhardt’s video interview “Do not Let Me Find the Words”. Visions of the future, desires and dreams of young people from the townships of Pretoria are presented, showing adolescence in its contradictory reality.
In two performances, Degenhardt and Hummel show how imitation, repetition and seriality illuminate reality. They use reenactment – the repetition or reactivation of source material – as working method. Hummel reactivates Yoko Ono’s performance “Cut Piece” and places this in the context of a conference atmosphere. She examines the echo of a performance and its essence. Degenhardt is concerned with the performative content of text language and gestures in interviews.
text: Nicole Degenhardt, translation: Lisa Glauer
Pressemitteilung zum download
Nicole Degenhardt, Berlin_Stine Gonsholt, Bergen/ NOR_Berit Hummel, Berlin
Friday 18 January 7 pm
19. Januar - 16. Februar
01 February 8 pm
Saturday 16 Februar, 7 pm
Repetition is the common artistic approach which runs through the artistic profiles of all three artists. Repetition means channelling the observer’s gaze, reducing the importance of the individual, the formation of a structure, as well as the possibility of an analysis in which deviations are also conceivable.
We can treat “Finite Repetition” as a series of linear processes, as temporal repetition which bridges the gap between past and present, as spatial repetition and choreography; or as reproduction, as in naturalist drawing with its deviations from reality or in the repetition of the same motif over and over again in digital reproduction.
For a video artist, repetition falls into the category of production/reproduction, and is a finite/infinite process that establishes a dynamic link between uniformity and change, the organic and the mechanic, and between the rule and the exception to the rule. Here, the end product of the repetitive process maintains all of the qualities of the original, while at the same time becoming something new.
Stagnation – Movement
Stine Gonsholt’s “BALANcE” – the working title of a animation piece she is currently working on – shows two brothers balancing on the roof of a building. It discusses the ambivalence between the risk of living versus a society obsessed with security and protection. Her drawings „UNTITLED ADJUSTMENTS“ (Arbeitstitel), is a comment on the development of City-environment. Visual transformation, changes done because of the demand of a new infrastructure, security, expansion and modernity... and what about the human being in this environment?.. Gonsholt will depict the streetscape of Brunnenstraße as seen from the exhibition space, and then alter and correct this reality by treating her drawing accordingly.
Production – Reproduction
In her video „LIMPIEZA” (2007), Berit Hummel captures a choreographed performance involving street cleaners in Madrid. The movements of the women and men follow a mysterious pattern, and this seems to be the only purpose of their work.
Uniformity – Deviation
In “Do Not Let Me Find the Words” (2004) and “Elective Affinities” (2005), two video pieces from the “Reenactment” series, Nicole Degenhardt treats the phenomenon of repetition. Using source material from interviews with teenagers, she creates a fictitious narrative which is repeated over and over.
Two performances (Hummel, Degenhardt) are planned, which will further develop the artistic approaches mentioned above and will demonstrate the common ground shared by the artists. At the evening of February 1, 2008, Hummel and Degenhardt and other participants will take part in an reenactment of Yoko Ono´s Performance „Cut Piece“ (Hummel) and a fictitious interview (Degenhardt). At the same time, these performances will be recorded on video and the images shown to the audience on monitors. Thanks to spontaneous interaction and informal playing around with the central topic, the artistic message will become more clearly identifiable, will be reflected upon and will become even more meaningful and significant. As part of a search for an excerpt of reality, it will show how a video reality can be formed by means of imitation, repetition, treatment, structure and seriality. Films are visualizations of a subjective reduction and appropriation of reality as well as the rendering of the personal view of the author. Alexander Kluge made clear that films do not provide an imprint of reality but rather are, in principle, artefacts. Reality is always constructed, because it consists of individual and collective interpretations of sensual impressions. This is true for the interpretation of what is shown as well as for the gaze of the viewer and makes the claim to authentic rendition of reality impossible.
Repetition is an empirical gesture from science where an experiment is only valid when it is repeatable with small deviance. The empirically provable is recognized as the real by natural scientists. That reality is more than pure empiricism can be demonstrated by the impossibility of repetition which would only exist as pure of the artefacts of change in the mind. In the early development of film, the repetition of visual reality was a primary factor providing pleasure to the viewers. From a histographic point of view, this moves us to the cinema pioneers Lumiere and their “raw takes” of occurrences (for example, travel rituals, modes of transport) these so called “proto-films” tell no story, but rather render only a time set and atmosphere.