centre d’art contemporain genčve



Ute Aurand & Maria Lang, Véronique Goël, Andrew & Eden Kötting, Jay Rosenblatt

A project by Emilie Bujčs

23.11.2012 – 20.01.2013

Screening at Les Cinémas du Grütli of Andres Kötting "This our Still Life"

She seemed to have discovered that everything was capable of being perfected, that each thing could be given a harmonious appearance; life itself could be created by Man.
Deep down, Anna had always found it necessary to feel the firm roots of things. And this is what a home had surprisingly provided. Through tortuous paths, she had achieved a woman’s destiny, with the surprise of conforming to it almost as if she had invented that destiny herself. The man whom she had married was a real man, the children she mothered were real children. Her previous youth now seemed alien to her, like one of life’s illnesses. She had gradually emerged to discover that life could be lived without happiness: by abolishing it she had found a legion of persons, previously invisible, who lived as one works–with perseverance, persistence, and contentment. What had happened to Anna before possessing a home of her own stood forever beyond her reach: that disturbing exaltation she had often confused with unbearable happiness. In exchange she had created something ultimately comprehensible, the life of an adult. This was what she had wanted and chosen.
LOVE, Clarice Lispector (translated by Giovanni Pontiero)

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈ Perhaps the romanticism of its title and its absolute dimension impart to Clarice Lispector's text from the outset a certain fragility, a fissure. In it she describes a female character who is trying hard to appreciate the tranquillity of a certain kind of happiness, the affection of a happy family, and yet who is forever slipping back into an uneasiness, a disquiet that she systematically refuses to accept. At play are moral and social conflicts – guilt over having been born into privilege, over not enjoying to the full what ought to be a simple happiness, over a certain embourgeoisement – as too, especially, are a quest for perfection and boredom rationalized by a fierce determination to conform to a "norm".

This text surely represents the exact opposite of what is evoked by the works presented in DIFFERENCES IN INTENSITY; these, moreover, must be viewed as being loosely related to each other. Deeply personal, sensitive, sincere, all of the works are concerned with affect, a certain intimacy and, at times, raw pain. Love is a theme, but also the (sometimes difficult) responsibilities that go with it and the inevitably varying intensity of relationships; themes that touch what is most intimate, most human in everyone.

In this context the films become mediators of a kind, on the one hand between the artist and her/his feelings (since the creative process necessarily requires a vantage point, reflection on the situation); on the other hand between these emotions and the viewer. To do this, they occasionally make use of rather direct, "natural" aesthetics close to home movies – or else, contrariwise, employ strategies or forms that allow the artists to intensify visually the feelings they are striving to express.

VÉRONIQUE GOËL, "So Long No See", 2009
Video, colour, sound, 6’ (Original version in English with French subtitles)
In "So Long No See", what seems to be a moment of contemplation is followed by Véronique Goël's expression of quiet grief and profound helplessness linked to the recent passing of one of her former colleagues and friends. Images shot from an S-Bahn train in Berlin as it travels through various districts and stations reveal a deliberately fragmented form, a certain tension: while the city seems to roll past the camera, the image captures only the moment when the train is standing still. Bustle gives way to silence; a silence that is deafening, and all the more pertinent when the artist reads from a letter she wrote about the absence of her friend – himself a sound engineer.

JAY ROSENBLATT, "I Used To Be A Filmmaker", 2003
Film 35mm transferred to video, colour, sound, 10’ (original version in English)
The mood is lighter, more humorous in Jay Rosenblatt's "I Used To Be A Filmmaker". The birth of a child and her development during the first eighteen months of her life prompt the American director to make a film structured around certain filmic techniques and notions. All the same, the happiness and beauty of the images must be viewed against a title that hints at an ironic take on what the arrival of a child really means.

1. UTE AURAND, "Maria und die Welt" (Maria and the World), 1995
Film 16mm transferred to video, colour, sound, 15’ (French subtitles)
2. MARIA LANG, "Familiengruft – ein Liebesgedicht an meine Mutter" (Family Crypt – A Love Poem for my Mother), 1981
Film 16mm transferred to video, b/w, sound, 10’ (French subtitles)
3. UTE AURAND & MARIA LANG, "Der Schmetterling im Winter" (The Butterfly in Winter), 2006
Film 16mm transferred to video, colour, sound, 30’ (French subtitles)
"Hier ist es zur Zeit sehr schön (Here it is fine at the moment) is a triptych full of tenderness and poetry, in both its form and its content. The first part, "Maria und die Welt") (Maria and the World), filmed by Ute Aurand in 1995, is surely the most fragmented and least narrated; the film offers fleeting views of Maria Lang's life in the country, back at her childhood home. Maria Lang uses "Familiengruft – ein Liebesgedicht an meine Mutter" (Family Crypt – A Love Poem for my Mother) (1981), the second part of the trilogy she made herself, as a vehicle to talk about her mother, her father, her brother and herself, the girl of the house; she speaks in particular about things generally passed over in silence: walls, borders, but also love. The third part, "Der Schmetterling im Winter" (The Butterfly in Winter), jointly filmed by the two women 22 years later, shows Maria's daily life as she cares for her now 96-year-old mother; a situation that for all its difficulties contains great beauty.

ANDREW KÖTTING & EDEN KÖTTING, Sketchbooks, drawings, 2005 – 2012, mixed media
ANDREW KÖTTING, "This our Still Life”, 2011, video, colour, sound, 57' (Original version in English with French subtitles)
Screening at Cinémas du Grütli, 7.12.2012 at 7.30pm
Home movie-style – almost – Andrew Kötting has shot a sensitive and intimate portrait of his life in Louyre, in the French Pyrenees, on an old farm where he and his family spend a few months each year in search of calm and solitude. In harsh and beautiful natural surroundings, in a ramshackle but poetry-filled house, the seasons set the rhythm of a life in which joy occasionally meets sadness. At the heart of the film, his daughter Eden, who suffers from Joubert syndrome, a birth defect that affects her balance and speech, grows up as the years go by, drawing, singing and playing.
The exhibition includes drawings by Eden and Andrew Kötting, together with the film-maker's sketchbooks; the film will receive its Swiss premiere at the Cinémas du Grütli on December 7th at 7.30 p.m.

Download the exhibition text