a blog about poetic creativity*******************ALL IMAGES © Stephanie Reid for HaikuFlash

Hamburger Banhof Museum, Berlin – July 31, 2014

Hamburger Banhof facad

All images copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid

We didn’t see the entire museum, but instead spent a good deal of time in the upstairs film installation room and the following exhibition:

The End of the 20th Century. The Best Is Yet to Come. A Dialogue with the Marx Collection (part of the museum’s permanent collection from Erich Marx)

Warhol of Joseph Beuys with diamond dust

Landscape of Beuys’s basalt sculptures

a giant Mao painting against Mao wallpaper in a room of violent images – Elvis with guns, electric chairs, knives, a car accident death, pointy-toed spiked-heeled pumps

Warhols Mao

 A film room 1920 William Kentridge from South Africa “Journey to the Moon” brought back to mind the films that inspired me to begin film making in the early 90’s. Special effects in the pre-digital era required a great deal of experimentation and imagination. Almost a century later, they are still effective as poetic storytelling devices. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPf63b6Glz8

A variety of Rauschenberg’s works such as Pink Door, Mule Deer, and collage prints described by John Cage as looking at several TV screens, on different channels, simultaneously

A Cy Twombly room featured several works including “The School of Fontainebleau” and “I am Thyrsis of Etna”, but my favorite of his works being shown was, “Empire of Flora” with its exciting treatment and colors of flowers. It has the sense of playing in a garden, getting ones hands dirty, pulling weeds, bumblebees, blooms and water streaming from a hose.

Full Empire Cy floral Cy signature Empire of Flora

This wing ended in an Anselm Kiefer gallery where the astounding “Lilith amroten Meer” commanded serious attention but only after visiting his less weighty work “Ways of Worldly Wisdom: Armenius’s Battle” on the side wall.

Lilith am roten Meertiny dressLilith textLilith backing detail Lilith cement detail

Ways of Worldly Wisdom

 

Rachel Whitereed – Untitled with Thomas Struth – San Zaccharia time lapse photograph

Whiteread and Struth

ceiling detail neon

The last exhibition we visited was the reason we came to the museum that day. Our film teacher, Anna Faroqhi, had to bow out of instructing our film workshop because her father, the film essayist, Harun Farocki, had died during the residency just a couple of days before the class was scheduled. We wanted to honor his memory by going to see his exhibition. The Hamburger Banhof was showing several of his works at the time, so instead of class we went to see some of his projects. On either side of the viewing room entrance two small monitors, and a viewing bench with headphones, invited visitors to relax and take in the show. However, the first essay was “Inextinguishable Fire”, a disquieting reenactment of the development of napalm at the Dow Chemical Plant and the atrocities committed by its use. **WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK. It gets a gory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JBbgWSBTdA

That foyer lead to a large room with four screens staggered throughout and showing the shorts from his, “Serious Games” series. These films explore different phases of soldier training from video game simulation, a live action simulation which took place in a small fabricated village with actors pretending to be the inhabitants, the creation of the video games, and post traumatic distress therapy. I found the post traumatic distress therapy to be useful in developing a conversation to have with my teenage brother should he still be considering joining the military.

Upon exiting, a compilation segments of at least three of films could be filmed on the other monitor. of his 1995 film “Interface”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsA5E5qIgm4 , which gives a first hand look at how the artist worked in his editing room while comparing and contrasting film and video; “Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPGSmvtmaWY, which touches on the historical uses of the factory as a control mechanism for the population; and “zwischen zwei Kriegen” (between two wars), which can be ordered along with his other works at the online video data bank http://www.vdb.org/artists/harun-farocki. I urge you to take some time to familiarize yourself with the catalogue of this prolific artist and eloquent, insightful writer.

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