The 16mm film investigates the complex relationship between archaeology, art history, photography, and their inherent visual languages. It depicts sculptures made of dark stone, representations of Egyptian animal gods, which served a sacred function in an ancient Roman temple to Isis. The title of the work corresponds to the information found in the museum’s organizational system, such as visitors find on the placards on museum walls. The artist lifts the five sculptures, which are permanently installed at the Museo del Sannio in Benevento, out of the classical context of museum presentation by singling them out in front of a black background. The figures, illuminated in high contrast by a bright light source, are shown from five different camera angles: long shot, medium shot, profile, sideways from the back, and in detailed view. Böck’s thematic starting point is the significance of Egyptian culture for the development of the west, consciously neglected since the Enlightenment in favor of a myth of origin that anchors the birth of the occident purely in the Greco-Roman tradition. Böck’s film points to the ambivalent role of photography with regard to the dissemination of archaeological and art historical knowledge and to the complex mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion involved in this, which benefited the construction of a homogeneous and linear course of history.
Hannes Böck, born in 1974 in Vienna, is an artist working with film and video. He received a degree in photography, studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and the University of the Arts in Berlin, from 2011–2013 he was ‘senior artist’ in the area of film/video at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Film aesthetics and discourses of visual studies and historical critique are the main reference points for his films and photo series.
16mm film installation, color, 9 minutes, courtesy Hannes Böck and Galerie Krobath, Vienna/Berlin.