May 2011, arsenal cinema

Archive of Gazes. Films by Rüdiger Neumann

At the beginning of the 1990s, Rüdiger Neumann, Professor for Experimental Film at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg, made his film STEIN/LICHT. In a film seminar held in the mid-90s, he stated that experimental cinema is dead and that he could no longer make films. He no longer did make films. "What is experimental film compared to MTV? Nothing." That that is no longer necessarily true today can be easily discerned in the great variety of current experimental film productions. It was important for him to vehemently defend this stance. After withdrawing from active filmmaking, his turn to the sound studio, which he operated together with Stephan Konken, became increasingly important. His films were rarely screened. He had them shut away like the Arri 2SR.

In the mid-1990s, many students, who later founded the so-called Berlin School, attended Rüdiger Neumann's film seminars at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg. What did they learn in Hamburg and later add themselves in Berlin? In the 1980s, Rotraud Pape, Ulrich Stein, Oliver Hirschbiegel, and Stephan Konken, just to mention a few, studied and worked with him. His students made controversial films.

Rüdiger Neumann did his Abitur via continuation education and then studied at the University of Hamburg. No straight path, neither behind or in front of him. At the university he came in contact with the film club actively engaged there. The club not only showed films at the university but also made films on their own using the money they made. Rüdiger started creating images. In 1974 he went to the Hochschule für bildende Kunst as a film assistant. An eventful time at the university. In the mid-1980s he became professor for experimental film. The other field he was dedicated to was political cinema. There was nothing in between, and from the perspective of the time, the two camps did not overlap at all. This was the field of tension in which the works of the students evolved. In the early 1980s, Rüdiger Neumann was committed to founding the Hamburger Filmbüro, marking the start of cultural film promotion. Later, he advocated the commercialization of education. But when that occurred, he withdrew again. He was not logical, although he claimed to make logical films.

Rüdiger Neumann's films are meditations of viewing in an increasingly faster visual world. He went on the most various visual journeys. Clear, stringent, structured. Strangely shifted views. Chance encounters. Sophisticated, systematic and structuralist works that cannot deny their sensuousness after all. With STEIN/LICHT he again breaks with the structure and lets the stones of Ifjordsfjellet tell their stories.

The DVD Archiv der Blicke. Filme von Rüdiger Neumann is a co-production between Stephan Konken, the cinematic executor who makes the works available, and Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst, Filmgalerie 451 and Frieder Schlaich, as well as the material-verlag of the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, where Luise Donschen, Ralf Bacher and Professor Wigger Bierma have taken the time to edit a special edition. (Maike Mia Höhne) (Jan. 21, with guests and a round table, & Jan. 22)