Three films that deal with the uncanny, the ghostly and the creepy in different ways: entitled uncanny encounters, the Museum für Neue Kunst is screening a number of perplexing and provocative art films that reacquaint us with scariness.
09.10.2018 – 18.11.2018
Peter Tscherkassky: outer space (1999) 10 min
In his found-footage film outer space (1999), the Austrian avant-garde filmmaker exclusively uses existing cinematic material. Without having shot any scenes himself, Tscherkassky processed the actual celluloid of the original – an American B-movie horror film – and turns it into a new film. In the original film, the female protagonist is attacked by invisible forces and tries to defend herself. In Tscherkassky's version, the narrative plane internal to the film fuses with the actual materiality of the film. As a result of countless layerings, the film becomes a concentration of cuts, edits and interruptions. The spectral invasion of domesticity as a private sphere is ramped up into a nightmare scenario from which there can be no escape for the protagonist. Tscherkassky's elaborately hand-crafted film is provocative due to its visual aggressivity, but at the same time it illustrates the astounding scope of manual film processing removed from the possibilities of digital technology.
20.11.2018 – 20.1.2019
Bjørn Melhus: The Bathroom (2011) 5:10 min
Bjørn Melhus' short The Bathroom (2011) has an ironic take on the creepy and the uncanny. The artist draws on the promotional trailer of Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Psycho (1960). However, he only uses the sound, that is to say, the introductory voice over in German spoken by Hitchcock himself. Melhus stages the trailer in a new setting. Dressed as a gardener and holding a chainsaw, the artist lip-synchs Hitchcock's words and guides us through the grounds and the premises of the Herbert Gerisch Foundation in Schleswig-Holstein for whom the film was made to showcase their rooms. As the title of the film suggests, the visit ends in a bathroom – the site of one of the most shocking murders in film history. Despite the patent absurdity arising from the spoken and visual blending of original and copy, the film still generates a distinctly creepy, uncanny atmosphere.
22.1.2019 – 24.3.2019
Lynn Hershman Leeson: VertiGhost (2017), 12:45 min
Lynn Hershman Leeson ranks as a pioneer in the field of American media art and conceptual art. Since her first artistic forays in the 1960s, Hershman Leeson's work has focused on the themes of identity, technology and how the media changes our perception. In her film VertiGhost made in 2017 for the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, Hershman Leeson focuses on the complex histories of two paintings which reveal, in their different ways, the gaps and fixations in the museum's collection. The first painting is the fictional portrait of Carlotta Valdez which plays a key role in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Vertigo. The relevant scenes in the film take place in the museum in San Francisco, but the painting itself has never been part of the collection. The second painting, a portrait of Pierre-Edouard Baranowski by the Italian painter Amadeo Modigliani, languished in the museum's storeroom for over thirty years on the grounds that it was a fake. Only after intensive and elaborate examination was it possible to establish the authenticity of the work, leading to the subsequent inclusion of the painting into the museum's collection. Hershman Leeson not only tracks down a museum's supposed and hidden ghosts, but also opens up a bold female perspective on two icons of classical modern painting and the classic Hollywood movie itself.
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