In the exhibition "I remain silent" Erik Schmidt focuses on a selection of works which are apparently free of spoken language.
Schmidt is perhaps best known primarily as a painter but he has been working with film since 1997, where the individual image and its inherent aphasic inability always remain the main point of reference. Thus, the non-verbal elements in the works on show function as a vehicle for sensual experiences which seem incapable of being expressed in words.
The five films on show along with the selected collage are linked not only by a clear iconic presentation of their content in their respective key moments but also through a sounding out of artistic film in a performative or multimedial fashion.
The hetrogenous selection encompasses works that range from documentarism to fiction, narration and pictorial isolation, alongside artistic self-examination thus reflecting Schmidt's consciously subjective approach to the curatory question posed, one which is characterized by a fascination with the quiet, yet powerful image.
Andreas Bunte (1970): La Fée Electricité, 2007, 16 mm, sw, 12 min
The events in La Fée Electricité take the form of a fictionalized account which focuses attention on electric light after it began to change everyday life radically in the 19th century. Alongside historically accurate facts, invented elements have also been included in the sequence, the juxtaposition of which follows a formal dramaturgical succession, not the depicted pseudoscientific statistics and dates.
Rainer Kamlah (1971): Melting in the Dark, 2006, Installation
The drawings entitled "Melting in the dark" by Rainer Kamlah portray details of film stills enlarged so as to become unrecognizable, partially appearing like surreal landscapes. Alongside them, the elements placed in the room seem like abandoned props, but remain just as fragmentary as the forms depicted in the drawings. Only by reading the text of a letter fixed to the side of the installation is it possible to decode the objects: it is a replica of a letter which appears in a scene in William Friedkin's dark cinematic thriller "Cruising" (1979)
Aernout Mik (1962): Glutinosity, 2001, Digitalvideo auf DVD
Glutinosity (2001) is a single-screen video projection showing frustratingly slow-moving and uneventful footage of a crowd of would-be demonstrators, terrorists and guards 'practising' what appears to be a riot. Each participant's function is denoted by specific items of clothing: balaclavas, bomber jackets, shemagh scarves and soldiers' uniforms. Although roles are divided among the players, the controlling and the controlled seem to be mutually exchangeable. As we watch, we come to realise that there are no winners and no losers in this set-up
Katharina Sieverding (1944): Life Death, 1969/2003, remastered Video auf DVD, 50 min
In "life Death", the artist portrays herself in front of the camera. The film brings together central aspects that are characteristic for the artist's entire creative output: concepts such as the polarity of life and death, the fragility of the individual and the superimposition of political circumstances on the self are already powerfully present in this early work. The film was made during the course of a single night in 1969 during the student unrest in Berlin and digitally reworked in 2004. Kraftwerk - founded at the same time as the original film was made - produced the soundtrack.
Erik Schmidt (1968): Hunting Grounds, 2006, 16 mm Film auf DVD, 14 min
"Hunting Grounds" is the first part of a trilogy dealing with the themes of social representation. In this case, nobility is the focus of Schmidt's attention - the artist has lain in wait for the aristocrats, observing close-up their codes and clothing, their spaces and gestures. Filmed on an estate in Westphalia and in the surrounding countryside, the work consists of a narrative, initially confusing yet composed down to the last detail. Different levels double up constantly: the dinner is both real and staged, where actual members of the aristocracy sit alongside actors without it being immediately evident who is who, an artists who portrays himself as a member of a hunting party, both as hunter and quarry at the same time.
Gregg Smith (1970): Should we never meet again, 2005, HD auf DVD, 25 min
A young man crosses Paris, calling on his mobile and talking to himself. He has problems and is looking for shelter for the night. He has many friends in the city but in each case there are complications and he hesitates to call them. From time to time, he stops and is then pulled into another dimension, without boundaries and formalities, where he has brief encounters with total strangers.