The Canadian artist Jeff Wall has engaged intensively with the aesthetics of the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The exhibition FASSBINDER – NOW, curated by the German Film Museum, Frankfurt am Main, in collaboration with the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation and currently showing in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau (until Sunday, 23 August) explores not only Fassbinder work and personality but also his influence on works by artists working today. The exhibits include three large-format photographic transparencies by Jeff Wall: THE THINKER (1986), ODRADEK, TÀBORITSKÀ 8, PRAGUE, 18 JULY, 1994 (1994) and THE WOMAN AND HER DOCTOR (1980/81).
Jeff Wall is regarded as the inventor of staged photography, for which he drew inspiration from auteur cinema. He constructs detailed sets for his photography, in which every detail is thought out and planned. In this sense his work exhibits parallels with that of Fassbinder and other auteur filmmakers he draws on. His fascination with Fassbinder is in part based on the often artificial, in some instances even absurd atmosphere of the German director’s films, on Fassbinder’s play with lush, almost garish colors and his arrhythmic approach to light.
With his highly staged, large-format photos, which are backlit when exhibited, Wall creates cinematographic effects that, due to the synthetic character of his work, create distance between the image and the observer.
Wall creates the representation of a reality he seeks beyond the everyday and repeatedly finds in Fassbinder’s works. Fassbinder is also a central inspiration for his works in the sense that in his films RWF remained uncompromisingly distanced from the expectations of his audience and, in taking this stance, constantly evoked something new.
Fassbinder – NOW:
Exhibition runs until 23. August
Wed to Mon 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues closed
Tours with Juliane Maria Lorenz (President of the RWFF)
Thurs, 30 July, 4 p.m.
Tours with Hans-Peter Reichmann (Senior Curator, DIF) and Barbara Baum (costume designer) Thurs, 20 August, 4 p.m.
Film season in the Arsenal cinema:
Potsdamer Straße 2
Mon, 3 August, 7:30 p.m.
THE MARRIAGE OPF MARIA BRAUN, DCP; German with English subtitles, 120 minutes
Mon, 10 August, 7:30 p.m.
IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS, 35mm, 124 minutes
Mon, 17 August 7:30 p.m.
LOLA, 35mm, 113 minutes
Photo left: Jeff Wall, The Thinker, 1986, © Jeff Wall
Photo right: Jeff Wall, Odradek, Taboritska 8, Prague, 18 July 1994, 1994, © Jeff Wall