18 February 2013

BONN: VIDEONALE 14

Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge
from the top: (1) Bigert & Bergström "Musen" (2012) film-still; (2) Christian Jankowski "Casting Jesus" (2011) video excerpt; (3-4) Tanja Deman "Abode of Vacancy" (2011) film-still and full video; (5-6) Frances Scholz "Episodes of Starlite I-V" (2011-12) film-stills; (7) Jasper van den Brink & Yasmijn Karhof "Vessel" (2012) video excerpt, all photos by artfridge, courtesy Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn; all videos courtesy the artists and their galleries

There is a problem about every show containing video-based artworks: the time-frame. Leaving an exhibition with the knowledge that it would simply have been impossible to see all films and videos in full length is depressing. Thats why these time-determined shows ask for a very quick selection - decisions need to be made. Whenever a picture language fascinates within a couple of seconds, one sits down and engages in a new story, a new aesthetic. This was a particularly big challenge at the current show of the Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn. Choosing out of 2100 submissions, the jury selected 41 up-and coming and established positions for their video art festival. 

Video art - a genre that has been neglected for a long time now - has extremely many facets at the Videonale 14 and ranges between documentation, fiction, animation and even experimental abstraction. Due to permanent improvements in technological developments, video art is also subject to a regular re-invention of itself and thus grows and changes each year. This, its low market value and the time factor, might be some reasons, why video art has its difficulties in gaining popularity.

A strong characteristic of this Videonale is the artists' elaborate criticism towards the genre and the medium of film itself. In his 60-minute satire casting show "Casting Jesus" (see trailer above) Christian Jankowski, who is one of the very well known representatives, plays with media's manipulating power structures and television's evident absurdity. Tanja Deman, on the contrary, challenges the medium's relevance and fights its speed with slowness and stagnancy: her short video "Abode of Vacancy" (see video above) shows almost photographic images of impressing architectural or natural structures, giving the viewer time to drown in the beautiful images.

Less beautiful images can be seen in the informative but similarly repellent documentary "Musen" by Bigert & Bergström, which tells the story on how mice are treated and tortured around the world. Also Monica Cook plays with the borders of beauty and disgust, but she employs hypnotic music and a squirmy fantasy language for her short monkey-human childbirth video "Volley" (video excerpt below). This shift from reality and fiction is also the matter of Jasper van den Brink's and Yasmijn Karhof's three-channel video-installation "Vessel" (video excerpt above), which shows a scientist on an unmanned Norwegian research vessel. His imagination and the images of the boat's structure merge, so that the viewer eventually finds himself in a state of confusion.

The confusion caused by "Vessel" - which, architecturally, is the first piece of the show - is characteristic for the whole show's presentation. As most videos are projected against screens that are fixed with steel ropes hanging from the ceiling, spread across the nine exhibition rooms, the Videonale 14 equals a Labyrinth of screens and colours. However, despite the unfortunate hanging which perhaps ought to save some space, the exhibition is not only very good, but an absolute must for everyone who is willing to take some time for video art.


VIDEONALE 14
15th of February - 7th of April 2013
Festivalprogram: PDF

Kunstmuseum Bonn

Museumsmeile

Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 2

53113 Bonn
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun, 11-18h, Wed 11-21h


Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn photos by artfridge
from the top: (1-2) Monica Cook "Volley" (2011) film-still and video excerpt; (3) Aglaia Konrad "Concrete & Samples III Carrara" (2010) film-still; (4) Mauricio Limon "El primero que ria" (2012) film-still; (5) Tobias Yves Zintel "Earthly Powers" (2011) installation view; all photos by artfridge, courtesy Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn; all videos courtesy the artists and their galleries
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