Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)

Clemens von Wedemeyer

28 May - 31 Jul 2016

© Clemens von Wedemeyer
Im Angesicht (Face to Face), 2016
video still
28 May – 31 July 2016

The artistic practice of Clemens von Wedemeyer (b. 1974 in Göttingen, living in Berlin) becomes visible in video works, short films and multi-channel installations. His examination of historical phenomena is the basis of his interest and establishes socio-political references right to the present day. With non-linear narratives the artist creates condensations that make the levels of the historical and the fictional intertwine.

The starting point of the exhibition P.O.V. (Point Of View) at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, which assembles seven new works, is the documentary footage of Captain Freiherr Harald von Vietinghoff-Riesch, who as an amateur cameraman filmed in Europe during the Second World War between 1938 and 1942 behind the front line. Using the material as an example, von Wedemeyer examines pictorial spaces and boundaries of the subjective camera at war. The historical shots are compared, analyzed and made tangible by way of an experimental presentation. The examination is made by means of an analysis of the filmed objects, places, points of view and duration of view as well as of other film-specific coordinates. Von Wedemeyer here investigates, who is behind the camera and which information can a subjective view provide at war. The 16mm material serves as a basis for the most recent media space installations. Such as in the work Against the point of view (2016), where one scene of the historic film footage by Harald von Vietinghoff-Riesch is isolated and reconstructed in a computer game environment in the manner of the “Virtual Battlefields” in order to then allow alternative courses of the historic event. In the two video essays Die Pferde des Rittmeisters (The horses of the cavalry captain) (2016) and Im Angesicht (Face to Face) (2016) entirely different motifs are reassembled. In the first work, horses become the central protagonists of the war machine, in the second, the cameraman's view of civilians, prisoners of war and Wehrmacht soldiers becomes apparent, and the perpetrator's perspective is made tangible. Was man nicht sieht (What you do not see) (2016) presents a conversation with the literary scholar, cultural theorist and writer Klaus Theweleit, the director of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Marius Babias and Clemens von Wedemeyer himself, in which the historical footage is commented while viewing it and aspects such as the ethnographic view, soldiers as tourists and the crimes of the Wehrmacht are analyzed. The other new video works in the exhibition reflect the film in the continuity of previous wars and reveal how in the film footage memories of the amateur filmmakers construct themselves. Ohne Titel (Alles) (Untitled (Everything)) (2016) shows the more than three-hour long 16mm original footage trimmed to four minutes.

The research and production has been developed in a conceptual collaboration of Clemens von Wedemeyer with the artist Eiko Grimberg.

Clemens von Wedemeyer (b. 1974 in Göttingen, living in Berlin) studied photography and media at Fachhochschule Bielefeld and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, where, since 2013, he is a professor of media art. His works have been shown in numerous international exhibitions and his films were shown at various film festivals, most recently, among others, at Forum Expanded, Berlin (2016); Filmfestival Diagonale, Graz (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2015); Braunschweiger Kunstverein (2014); Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); Frankfurter Kunstverein (2011); Barbican Centre, London (2009); PS1, New York (2006).

Accompanying the exhibition and as part of the n.b.k. book series „n.b.k. Exhibitions“, a publication by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne is released, with an introduction by Marius Babias and texts by Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann, Tom Holert and Klaus Theweleit.

Tags: Marius Babias, Clemens von Wedemeyer