David Zwirner is pleased to present Filmed Film, an exhibition of new work by Berlin-based artist Michael Riedel. In 2007, the artist was the focus of a one-person exhibition at Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. His work has been exhibited at prominent venues throughout Europe including the Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France (2007), the Moscow Biennale at the Lenin Museum, Moscow, Russia (2005), and the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria (2003). In October, he will have an exhibition at Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. This is Riedel’s second solo exhibition at David Zwirner.
In 2000, Riedel began staging simulations in an abandoned building in Frankfurt. With collaborator Dennis Loesch, the artist notably recreated concurrent exhibitions in nearby galleries, gaining him international acclaim. In the book Oskar, which documents these activities from 2000-03, it states: “Based on a false event, the documentation of Michael Riedel and Dennis Loesch’s exhibition practice is already questionable. In the exhibition space Oskar-von-Miller Strasse 16, the two have reiterated the languages of public cultural offers, often with no understanding of what is said.” Riedel’s conceptual simulacra operate on numerous levels: as imitations of existing works of art, facsimiles of architectural structures, and remakes of events and cultural situations. By nature these replicas mark a distance from the world to which they refer.
In many of his projects, written transcripts and printed paraphernalia accompany the physical objects on display. In regard to these textual interventions, Marcel Bugiel has written:
Pleasant side-effect of this method of generating texts: that the artistic process allows us to deal with the realms of life one finds interesting—in real time. It is as if, from the first moment, the yearning for the result overwhelms the desire for expression: to have written a text—any text. As soon as possible and with as little effort as possible. To immediately move on to the true purpose: correcting and rewriting, striking through and annotating, selecting and restructuring, all this in direct recourse to strange material found somewhere. And then again, quite classically, taking part in defining the layout, copy editing, going to the printers, arranging publications on book tables, holding readings, book signings. The highest possible concentration of the extrinsically visible, depictable, the non-inner work of the author. Substituting the need to be an author for the author’s possible needs, transporting the phenomenon of being an author back into society, into public life—the author’s surface with the fabulous inner reality it intrinsically assumes. As texts experience a devaluation from being the basic requirement for being an author to being a by-product, the write-up of the author’s life as real literature is performed. Texts like footnotes, like secondary literature, like theories accompanying the ultimately ungraspable—life itself—the main text exists as an image, to which they relate, from which they dissociate themselves nonchalantly. (“Stop Making Sense,” SAAB 95)
From 1999 to 2002, over forty hours of video footage were recorded in an effort to film existing films and to capture, incidentally, the circumstances of their screening/viewing. The works were first shown as “Filmed Film” events at Oskar-von-Miller Strasse 16. Similar to his “Clubbed Club” events—where Riedel duplicated the interior of a famous Frankfurt nightclub upside down with a soundtrack of dance music playing backwards—the “Filmed Film” program ran for several months and repeatedly showed original films with their respective audiences appearing in the picture. In this exhibition at David Zwirner, these works will be projected onto a screen smaller than the projected image.
Chiefly interested in the natural disruptions and imperfections, Riedel allows predetermined factors to dictate the project. For example, the length of the recording tape and the battery-life of the camera determine the length of the artist’s works. Thus, the original film and the filmed version are rarely identical in length; most of the films end inside a camera bag and some start even before the original film has begun. All of the works were shot in color-mode and with sound, so otherwise defining characteristics of the original film such as “black-and-white” or “silent” are rendered inconsequential. Using the auto-focus mechanism, the camera was often unable to focus properly on the film, leaving many of the shots blurred and vacillating. The image moves within the image or the film within the film disappears.