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8 Video Artists Tackle Collective Memory and Hidden Truths

'Evidence' is a new exhibition at DNA Berlin that reinterprets ideas of "history" through the lens of video art.

by Anya Tchoupakov
Nov 10 2015, 9:25pm

Long Live by Yao Jui Chung “approaches the dystopian, catastrophic and abandoned war zone of Kinmen Island, the bulwark of Nationalists, who found against Communists during the Hsinhai Revolution. All images courtesy DNA Berlin

Collective memory and personal experience are the inspiration for a new video art exhibition curated by Seoyoung Kim at DNA BerlinEvidence was inspired partly by Paul Valéry’s assertion that “an image is more than an image and sometimes shows more than the object of which it is an image.” The exhibition consists of videos from eight artists who were invited to rethink “the stories that have been overshadowed by social histories” by presenting their own historical and political heritages and understandings through an artistic lens. Each video explores a unique topic and together they bring a sense of unity and universality in their depictions of traumatic periods and the roles of individuals in the tide of world history.

The films include Jeamin Cha's story based on real events about a father attempting to solve his son’s mysterious death in the Korean Army, as well as her bizarre story about a couple whose death is portrayed under neon light and grotesque hysterical sounds; a conversation over a meal with Adolf Hitler’s official food taster presented by Clemens Krauss; Mariam Ghani's exploration of the collapses and restorations of people’s desires through a comparison of two symbolically-selected buildings in Germany and Afghanistan; artist confessions from the front lines of the Vietnamese resistance, and the responsibility of the artist during times of war, compiled by Dinh Q. Lê; an eerie landscape constructed by Mariana Vassileva of a secluded Russian city where a piano explodes under cannon fire and a ballerina dances dreamily by; and finally Yao Jui Chung's dramatic retelling of Nationalist rebellion against Communists on Kinmen Island, performed by one shouting actor who stands as stark contrast to the deserted scenes around him. These artists and their works challenge definitions of truth and memory on a personal and collective level and bring the individual to the forefront of historical experience.

The exhibition begins November 27 and runs through January 27, 2016 at DNA Gallery in Berlin. Until then, check out some stills from select videos from the exhibition below:

The Taster by Austrian artist Clemens Krauss follows the woman who was Adolf Hitler’s personal food taster. In the video we watch her, “a true booming evidence herself, to have a meal, reminiscent her past work in the Nazi regime."

Mariam Ghani’s A Brief History of Collapses compares the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany (above) with the abandoned Dar Ul-Aman Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Jeamin Cha’s Hysterics weaves a story of a dead couple in a video that is “deep, dark, atmospheric...reminiscent of film noir aesthetics.”

In Vision in Darkness, Dinh Q. Lê follows Vietnamese pioneer painter Trang Trung Tin, a young soldier who painted in order to make sense of the violence around him, focusing his work on war, poverty, and loneliness.

A piano exploders from a cannon shot and a ballerina dances like a dream in the snow juxtaposing beauty, violence, and desolation in Mariana Vassileva’s Kronstadt.

Evidence runs November 27, 2015 through January 27, 2016 after an opening event on November 26 at DNA Gallery. See DNA Berlin’s website for more information.

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