September 2011, arsenal cinema

Ulrike Ottinger


This autumn in Berlin is all about Ulrike Ottinger. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is showing the work of the filmmaker, photographer and collector of worlds in the "Floating Food" exhibition (September 8 – October 30), which shows the way in which humans deal with nutrition also affects their relationship with the environment and thus also creates cultural identity. The exhibition and world premiere of her film Unter Schnee (HKW, September 9) form the centerpiece of the 2011 Asia Pacific Weeks. The complex oeuvre of the filmmaker and artist is also to be honored with the 2011 Hannah Höch Prize by the Berlin Cultural Administration. The Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) will be showing the unknown, not previously exhibited early paintings (1963–68) of Ottinger to coincide with her receiving the prize (October 26 –January 22). From September to January, Arsenal will also be inviting audiences to discover the cinematic oeuvre of Ulrike Ottinger in a series of twelve events which will include introductions and discussions. By drawing upon themes, quotes, images and sounds from the exhibitions, the film series reflects and comments on the complex nature of Ulrike Ottinger's world of moving images, which move between opulence, stylization, variations on the theatrical and the ethnographic, cultural history, science fiction, reflection and travel.

We will be opening the series with DORIAN GRAY IM SPIEGEL DER BOULEVARDPRESSE (Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press, FRG 1984, September 18). The film reveals the seductive nature of the sublimated totalitarianism of the media. Dr. Mabuse is the head of a press company and creates the androgynous Dorian Gray, who is completely independent of her. CHINA. DIE KÜNSTE – DER ALLTAG (China. The Arts – The People, FRG 1985, September 25) is a documentary shot by Ottinger in Beijing and the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan. The film revolves primarily around a precise observation of people and does without any sort of commentary. Long shots which follow the dramatic structure of real events and original sound receive a particular significance within the context of the film.