This exhibition is dedicated to Austrian filmmaker Martin Arnold who exhibited his work in a Portuguese gallery for the first time, after his films “Psycho” and “Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy” were shown at Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival in previous years.
The exhibition is built upon a path that articulates the two main trends characterising the different stages in Arnold’s work, and underscores a change of direction towards video installation that took place six years ago. This change has been accompanied by a progressive abandon of his work as a film director that made him famous in the 1990’s.
The first area includeded “Deanimated” and “Dissociated” which were made in 2002 for an exhibition dedicated to Arnold that the Kunsthalle Wien organised. These black and white works presented as video installations, which are connected with the space they’re shown in, have, as a starting point, the manipulation of outtakes from Hollywood classics, sending us back to a previous stage in his experimental work. A few seconds of found footage are the raw material for making films that last much longer, and are marked by the disintegration of narratives that result from the transformation of images and from the discovery of emotions not expressed in the original films. This is the case with “Dissociated”, where Arnold explores moments hidden behind the frames, disintegrating the sequences and showing features which are almost unperceivable in the image.
In the work that gave the exhibition its title “Deanimated”, curated by Thomas Mießgang, Arnold takes us to see, in a fake cinema built inside the gallery/museum, the disappearance of the characters of the film “Invisible Ghost” from 1941 through their manipulation and disintegration.
The confrontation between “Deanimated” and “Dissociated” shows the substitution of the traditional observation of cinema, resulting from the use of two projectors, frees the viewer of the central perspective leading him to discover new individual points of view and time frames that explore the simultaneousness of cinematographic events.
Arnold’s most recent work dispenses with the digital manipulation of classic American film outtakes that characterised his previous work, to concentrate on the creation of installations that reveal a convergence with video art and performance, presented as a diptych or a triptych. In addition to video, which Arnold continues to use as a central element in his work, there are new elements such as coloured images, filmed by the artist himself.
Young students act in front of the camera in situations conceived and documented in several screens which create an interaction between the different shootings exploring the construction and reconstruction of sound and image, and the idea of disappearance, that constitutes the main element in all his work, as is the case with “Cloudy Insulin” and “Silent Winds”.
Equally, his most recent work “Coverversion”, revisits the idea of reconstruction, like “Deanimated” before, the fake film projected in the fake cinema, but here with a fake pop band, Milli Vanilli.
Within the scope of this exhibition there was a set of activities included in the 16th Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival. On July 9, Martin Arnold presented “Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy”(1998), “Passage à l´acte” (1993) and “Pièce Touchée” (1989) at the Vila do Conde Municipal Auditorium (Auditório) followed by a guided tour of the exhibition at Solar – Cinematic Art Gallery.