The playful and poignant films of German filmmaker Ute Aurand, a key figure in Berlin’s experimental film scene since the 1980s, emerge from her intimate relationship with people and places. Drawing on traditions of the diary film, feminism and artisanal practices, her handcrafted 16mm films are filled with joy at the small details of life – from observations of landscapes to friends filmed over many years. Her exuberant films reflect on memory as much as they celebrate the here and now. These screenings presented by the artist will highlight the range and breadth of Aurand’s filmmaking.
Curated by George Clark, Assistant Curator Film, Tate Modern
Ute Aurand 1: to be here - Friday 21 February 2014, 18:30–20:30h
Ute Aurand has established herself since the 1980s as a key filmmaker in the personal or diary tradition of Margaret Tait, Jonas Mekas and Marie Menken, creating intimate and responsive films that capture fleeting moments, glimpses and snippets of life around her. This opening screening features a selection of recently acclaimed films combining poetic portraits and studies of place.As Ute Aurand has stated ‘filming portraits allows me to emphasize private gestures and moments beyond narration and documentation. Sometimes I collect footage for years before deciding to edit a portrait, [like] Susan or Hanging Upside Down in the Branches, then again a portrait like Lisbeth was filmed only on two occasions and edited shortly afterwards.’ Together with these is Zu Hause a self-portrait and her ambitious work To Be Here 2013 a free-wheeling exploration of North America, drawing on footage and experiences fromNew England with the all female Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts to New York and the Hopi reservation in Arizona.
- Susan + Lisbeth (Ute Aurand, Germany 2012, 16mm, colour/black & white, sound, 7 min)
- Hanging Upside Down in the Branches / Kopfüber im Geäst (Ute Aurand, Germany 2009, 16mm, colour/black & white, silent, 15 min)
- To Be Here (Ute Aurand, Germany/USA, 2013, 16mm, colour/black & white, sound, 38 min)
- At Home / Zu Hause (Ute Aurand,Germany 1998, 16mm, colour, 2.50 min)
Ute Aurand 2: Berlin Babylon - Saturday 22 February 2014, 16–18h
These films celebrate the alternative film culture in Berlin that emerged in the 1980s. Ranging from the joyous OH! The Four Seasons (1988) featuring a series of improvised performances with Ulrike Pfeiffer in Berlin, Paris, Moscow and London to Bärbel and Charly (1995) a portrait of fellow filmmakers ranging from a re-enactment of Singing in the Rain to the excitement of putting on screenings at Berlin’s Babylon cinema in Kreuzberg. Aurand’s first film Deeply Absorbed in Silent Conversation 1980 presents an introspective portrait of the artist in Berlin, and marks the beginning of her evolving visual style while Detel + Jón (1988-93) is a playful portrait showing life in the city and in Iceland filled with happiness and love. The text by Jonas Mekas that he reads at the start of OH! The Four Seasons (1988) sums up the exuberant and inventive nature of these films “Improvisation is, I repeat, the highest form of concentration, of awareness, of intuitive knowledge, when the imagination begins to dismiss the pre-arranged, the contrived mental structures, and goes directly to the depths of the matter.”
- Bärbel and Charly (Ute Aurand, Germany, 1994 16mm, colour/black & white, sound, 35 min)
With Bärbel Freund and Karl Heil
- Deeply Absorbed in Silent Conversation / Schweigend ins Gespräch vertieft (Ute Aurand, Germany 1980, 16mm, colour/black & white, sound, 8 min)
- Detel + Jón (Ute Aurand, Germany 1988/93, 16mm, colour/black & white, sound, 23 min)
With Detel Aurand and Jón Sigurgeirsson
- OH! The Four Seasons / OH! die vier Jahreszeiten (Ute Aurand and Ulrike Pfeiffer, Germany 1988, 16mm, colour, sound, 20 min)
Ute Aurand 3: Young Pines - Saturday 22 February 2014, 19–21h
Ute Aurand’s filmmaking is often inspired by a deep relationship to place. Young Pines 2011 was filmed on various trips to Japan where Aurand captures distinct areas of the country from Yokohama, Kyoto to Tokyo prior to the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima, which occurred while Aurand was in the midst of editing her film. The film explores the relationship between culture and nature, a concern present throughout Aurand`s work from the At the Sea 1998 made on the car-free German island of Hiddensee, with a soundtrack by Japanese filmmaker Utako Koguchi to Half Moon For Margaret 2004 that combines a dizzying array of footage from a lunar eclipse to family celebrations inspired by the work of Scottish filmmaker Margaret Tait (1918-1999). The screening will open with Tait’s 1955 film The Leaden Echo And The Golden Echo an inspired response to Gerard Manley Hopkins poem of the same name, a film about youth and beauty as well as the impermanence of all things.
- The Leaden Echo And The Golden Echo (Margaret Tait,UK1955, 16mm, colour, sound, 7 min)
- At The Sea / Am Meer (Ute Aurand, Germany, 1998, 16mm, colour, sound, 3 min)
- Half Moon For Margaret / Halbmond für Margaret (Ute Aurand, Germany 2004, 16mm, colour, silent, 15 min)
- Junge Kiefern/Young Pines (Ute Aurand, Germany/Japan 2011, 16mm, colour/black & white, sound, 43 min)
Tate Film is supported by Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation
With additional support for To Be Here: The Films of Ute Aurand the Goethe-Institut London