description

 


The installation, “1930”, is a collection of paintings of everyday life in Berlin inspired by scenes from two Weimar Era feature films: "Berlin: Symphony of a Great City" and "People on Sunday".  In what at first may appear as mundane urban scenes, a threatening presence slowly takes shape.  Mysterious, misplaced shadows together with intertwined images of an imaginary rumor-driven monster (based on a drawing called "The Rumor" by Andreas Paul Weber) give a sense that something is broken.  The installation presents a cross-section of German Weimar Era urban society captured by the ominous drumbeat of that time.  In a larger sense, the paintings speak to how any country, place, or society, whether with full conscience or in complete innocence, can be swept away by a collective blindness based on rumors and falsehoods.

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Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927); directed by Walther Ruttmann, script by Carl Mayer and Karl Freund. This German silent film is an example of the city symphony film genre. The film portrays Berlin mainly through visual impressions in a semi-documentary style, without the narrative content of more mainstream films, though the sequencing of events shows us one day in Berlin, starting at early morning and ending deep in the night. Walter Ruttmann (1887-1941) was a German film director and an early practitioner of experimental film and best remembered for the film Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. Ruttmann was born in Frankfurt; he studied architecture and painting and worked as a graphic designer. His first abstract short films, Lichtspiel: Opus I (1921) and Opus II (1923), were experiments with new forms of film expression. He died in Berlin of wounds sustained when he was working on the front line as a war photographer.

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People on Sunday (1930); directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer with script by Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, and Curt Siodmak. Twas a German film director who also worked in the United States. People on Sunday was his first feature. With the rise of Nazism, Siodmak left Germany for Paris until Hitler again forced him out. Siodmak arrived in California in 1939, where he made 23 movies, many of them widely popular thrillers and crime melodramas, which critics today regard as classics of film noir. Edgar Georg Ulmer (1904-1972) was born in the Czech Republic. He lived in
Vienna, where he worked as a stage actor and set designer while studying architecture and philosophy. He moved to Los Angeles and began to direct films in1933. His stylish and eccentric works came to be appreciated by film critics over the years following his retirement.

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"The Rumor" by Andreas Paul Weber. This drawing embodies the concept of rumor in the form of a dragon-like creature formed by eyes and tongues. First drawn in 1943 and later lithographed in 1953 for many the dragon represents a mob-mentality that fuels racism and discrimination. The viewer is left questioning the meaning of this dragon and whether the people shown in his drawing are willfully joining the creature or are being unwillingly forced to unify with it. A. P. Weber (1893-1980) was a German artist whose work specialized in political satire. He was co-editor of the "The Resistance, Journal for National Revolutionary Politics". He produced illustrations, including the book "Hitler, a German Disaster" for which he was imprisoned in 1937. At least two of his images were used as Nazi war propaganda, as well as some of his earlier ones containing open or latent anti-Semitism. After the end of the war, and until his death, Weber kept working on critical art concerning politics, justice, and the environment.

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Photograph of Leipzig
Deutsche Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte - Bildarchiv Foto
Marburg / Leipzig: The market square and town hall before the first allied bombing raids over the city in December 1943.