Thaddaeus Ropac

Harun Farocki

23 Jun - 25 Jul 2009

"Counter Music and On Construction of Griffith's Films"

The oeuvre of German film maker Harun Farocki amounts to nearly 100 feature films, essay films, documentaries, and installations that explore global, economic, social, and cultural developments. The exhibition in Paris will present Farocki's installations On Construction of Griffith's Films, taking up a sequence from D.W. Griffith's film Intolerance (1916), and Gegen-Musik/Counter Music, 2004. Both films are double projections. Harun Farocki himself describes their specific features as follows: "In a double projection, there is succession as well as simultaneity, the relation of an image to the one succeeding it as well as to the one next to it." Therefore, the mere coexistence of the two projections is not sufficient to definitively delineate the relationship of the images being shown. It is up to the viewer to recognize the different elements in correspondence.

In his installation On Construction of Griffith's Films, Harun Farocki elaborates on a sequence from D.W. Griffith's film Intolerance (1916). It shows a conversation between a man and a woman, filmed and edited as a shot and a counter shot. Farocki produces this sequence on two monitors. This innovative method of narration, using a shot and counter shot to film dialogues was still relatively groundbreaking at the time of production. "My intention was to create a film laboratory, to show as much as possible of the structure of a film, a film genre, or a style with as few interventions as possible. With the figure of a shot and counter shot that has now existed for ninety years and occurs in almost every film and every sequence, the narrated space is divided in two parts. I wanted to demonstrate this disassembly by showing the shot and counter shot images on two different monitors." (Harun Farocki).

Gegen-Musik/Counter Music (2004) studies the existing surveillance techniques within a city environment and the visualization process of the images being captured. The regulation of the urban setting by operative images is of interest to Harun Farocki, who aims to, '"remake" the city films, but using different images. Farocki explains the process saying that, "Limited time and means themselves demands concentration on just a few chapters, fragments, or preliminary studies."

Harun Farocki was born in 1944 in Neutitschein (located in the part of Czechoslovakia that was annexed by Germany at the time). He studied at the Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin between 1966 and 1968 and now lives and works in Berlin. Farocki was both editor and author of the magazine Filmkritik for ten years. Since 1974, Farocki has lectured in Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Vienna, Berlin, and Berkeley among other cities. Since the mid-nineties his works have increasingly been shown at international art institutions. The Frankfurter Kunstverein (2001), the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Gent (2002), the Institute of Contemporary Arts London (2003), the ZKM Karlsruhe (2004), Index - The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation Stockholm (2006), and the Museum Moderner Kunst Wien (2007) have held solo exhibitions of Harun Farocki.

The exhibition "H F | R G", on Harun Farocki and Rodney Graham is being held at the Jeu de Paume in Paris until June 7. The show constitutes a retrospective of the work of these two important contemporary artists, presenting 35 and 16mm film installations, numerical projections, large format photographs, large scale light boxes, conceptual and sculptural works.

Films and installations (selection): Die Worte des Vorsitzenden [The Words of the Chairman] (1968), Zwischen zwei Kriegen [Between Two Wars] (1978), Etwas wird sichtbar [Before Your Eyes] (1981), Wie man sieht [As You See] (1986), Leben - BRD [How to Live in the FRG] (1990), Videogramme einer Revolution [Videograms of a Revolution] (1992) (with Andrei Ujica), Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik [Workers Leaving the Factory] (1995). Die Bewerbung [The Application] (1997), Stilleben [Still Life] (1997), Die Schöpfer der Einkaufswelten [The Creators of the Shopping Worlds] (2000), Auge/Maschine [Eye/Machine] (2001), Auge/Machine II [Eye/Machine II] (2002), Erkennen und Verfolgen [War at a Distance] (2003), Auge/Maschine III [Eye/Machine III] (2003), Gegen-Musik [Counter-Music] (2004), Nicht ohne Risiko [Not without Risk] (2005), Aufstellung [Lineup] (2005), Ausweg [Way Out ] (2005), Zur Bauweise des Films bei Griffith [On Construction of Griffith's Films] (2006), Vergleich über ein Drittes [Comparison via a Third] (2007), Deep Play (2007).

Tags: Harun Farocki, Rodney Graham