Thievery and Songs
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In „Thievery and Songs“ Gernot Wieland has made an exceptionally beautiful, tragicomic and humorous work, framed by the story of a dancer, Hilde Holger, who had to flee from Austria into exile in Bombay in 1938 because she was Jewish.
This collage of moving images is composed of Super 8 film, video, watercolours, drawings, Claymation and his father´s photos. Each frame carries the distinctive atmosphere of its medium. The work includes stories of animals and psychotherapists, memories of Wieland´s catholic education, the religious-like indoctrination of the Viennese actionists in Austrian culture, a transformation into a snail, which by the turns of narrative, bears a relationship to landscapes, the notion of memory and hierarchy and a therapeutic session.
In the therapist’s office, Wieland narrates a dream about the ‘Bremer Stadtmusikanten’ or the ‘Town Musicians of Bremen’, a Brothers Grimm fairytale, of outcast animals who leave for Bremen to become musicians. In drawing on this story, and the motif of the four animals, Wieland adds to its long cultural legacy. In the story the animals chase away robbers, and are able to occupy a house. In Wieland’s work it appears the revolution fails. This work present a critique of capitalism, hierarchical structures and the ghosts of WW2. ‘I tell the story about my grand-aunt, the ugly part so to speak, about that she was sold, poverty, a family who was imprisoned and killed by Nazis and how my grand aunt narrated and what I imagined to see in her images. We filmed dance movements in a government building, which was important to me. You can tell it is a government building, in German it is called ‘Rathaus’, where you apply for a new passport, you can get married, there is a tax office, the official life, so to speak. I wanted that setting, as a ‘quote’ for Austria’s past, since there were so many people who were responsible, who decided.’ Zasha Colah, 2016
Thievery and Songs
16:9, 22:40 minutes, sound, colour
Camera: Konstantin von Sichart
Music: Konstantin von Sichart
Editing: Konstantin von Sichart, Gernot Wieland
Costumes: Isadhora Müller
Dancer: Deniz Orta
Actors: Alejo Franzetti, Alice Dalgalarrondo, Carla Åhlander, Erfan Aboutalebi, Philipp Lüttjohann, Simon Åhlander
Commissioned by festival steirischer herbst, 2016.
„Thievery and Songs“ has been shown at Superdeals, Brussels (2018); „MOSTYN Open 20“, Llandudno, Wales (2017); „Survival Kit 9“, LCCA – Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga (2017); 33. International Short Film Festival, Hamburg (2017) and won the MOSTYN Open 20 award in 2017. A statement from the selection panel states:
„Gernot Wieland’s accomplished and complex work stood out for the panel, specifically for the way in which it creates a narrative around the human condition and how it examines the place of the individual in society.“
MOSTYN Open 20 was selected by Lydia Yee (Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery), Chus Martínez (Curator and Head of the Institute of Art, FHNW Academy of Arts and Design, Basel), Alfredo Cramerotti (Director, MOSTYN) and Adam Carr (Visual Arts Programme Curator, MOSTYN).