For this special event, we welcome Swiss artist and experimental filmmaker Hannes Schüpbach, on the occasion of the publication of the new book, “Hannes Schüpbach: Essais. Conversations and Film Images” (Vienna: Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2023).
Born in Winterthur in 1965 and educated in Zurich and Basel, Schüpbach began his career in the early 1990s by creating spatial installations and serial paintings that, in their exploration of perception through movement, had a strongly cinematographic flavor. Since turning more definitely to 16mm filmmaking in 1999, he has completed eleven films, many of which deal explicitly with artistic processes, including ERZÄHLUNG (2007), L’ATELIER (2007), CONTOUR (2011), and INSTANTS (2012).
In recent years Schüpbach has produced several books that radically expand his art projects into published dialogues. His new book centers on his most recent film, ESSAIS (2020), featuring conversations with his collaborators that revolve around the concept of “the movement that starts within us” in dance, poetry, fashion, music, and language. How singular are our gestures? Where do transitions between individuals come into play? Where does a common cultural space come into being? In both book and film – whose shared title references Montaigne’s “Essais”, in which he contemplates existence on the basis of his own observations and reflections – Schüpbach addresses a pivotal aspect of artistic work. This special event will encompass screenings of both ESSAIS and the earlier film INSTANTS, a reading, and a conversation with the artist.
2012, 16 min, 16mm, silent
“Instants arrive and take place for us and in us. Like the girl appearing in a gust, as a goddess of winds, whose movements settle into a gesture, a suite of still images. Between the instants relations unfold, the evident as well as the invented. The hand that halts in writing sentence after sentence implies a loop, a stepping back. There, what has been felt takes form. The jolts, abrasions, and stops in the arrival of images make up this body of instants from which language flows.” –Hannes Schüpbach
2020, 43 min, 16mm, silent
The dancer Kira Blazek explores new movements, her dance passionately broadening into a bodily reflection about the possible. Her shifting ventures in dance dialogue with the six further personalities the film introduces, all of them engaged in some form of self-experiment. Stephen Watts, Éléonore Bernard, Heba-Raphaëlle Meffre, Flurin Cuonz, Marco Baschera, and Jiajia Zhang are artists and researchers, filmed in London, Bern, Antwerp, Zurich, and St. Gallen. It is gestures and postures that define them. They exist alongside one another in a fictional exchange where the other extends their own form. In Schüpbach’s film, the images are unlocked from linear time via black transitions, resulting in a hypnotic flow. Its temporality marks a recollection: the repetition of what has once been seen, in a rhythm linked to recapitulation and speech.