11 October – 3 November 2007
For her first solo exhibition in Scandinavia German artist Hanna Schwarz (f.1975) has produced a new 16 mm film referencing to film musical of the 1940’ies and 50’ies with stars like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Furthermore she presents a series of drawings with traces of running colour as well as wooden sticks. They work as minimal objects in the exhibition space and also refer to the French Nouvelle Vague filmmaker Jaques Démy’s Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort in which the actors are dancing with wooden sticks.
Schwarz’ mis en scene appears almost like an abandoned stage set where some props are left behind not revealing much about themselves or the set that they possibly were a part of. The beholder therefore seems caught between some minimalistic objects and the sparse gestures of the artist.
By referencing to a film genre, that has almost died out - at least in the Western world – and making use of 16 mm film Schwarz creates a retro like cinema effect. Hanna Schwarz’ black and white film refers to Hollywood film (musicals) but also to Jaques Demy and his over-the-top Nouvelle Vaque musicals extracting the essence of the genre.
Schwarz’ film runs in a 4 min. loop alternating between a tableaux vivant and a scene with dancers. The still scenes are accompanied by music and suggest that they could be film stills from well known productions like Dancin’ in the Rain while the latter show dancers dancing in silence. So the music by French composer George Delerue, who composed the music for most of the Nouvelle Vague films, is only to be heard in the still scenes. This means that the ordinary musical concept is turned upside down in Schwarz’ film, that does not follow traditional codes but breaks down not only the coherence between music and choreography but also any attempts to form a narrative.
The wooden sticks and drawings of Schwarz seem to underline the fragmented nature of it all. The drawings are made in watercolours and lacquer - some with titles of songs in it and some with music paper sheets. They correspond to the film as they are playing with the subject of music.
In this way the different elements of the show are both referencing to each other as well as to diverse productions and features in the history of music and musical film. No straight story is being told. Instead the beholder enters a spiral of reference underlining the absence of a unifying truth.