Künstlerhaus Dortmund
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Opening hours   Office  Mon + Fri 10-14 h Tue - Thu 10-16 h  |  Exhibition  Thu - Sun 16-19 h

Dialogue film - visual arts

April 8 - May 13, 2011

Opening: April 8 at 20 h

The show presents the encounter of the traditional media Photography/Film and Graphics/Painting. The common denominator is the examination of the consequences of human activities on our planet in the form of documentation or statement.
Rainer Komers presents his essayistic film expeditions through grandious landscapes that were mistreated by man though, a tetralogy on destroyed cities. His film "Milltown, Montana" (D 2009, 34 min) will be shown on the opening evening and daily during the exhibition hours.
Hiroko Inoue dedicates herself to the subject "forest" which plays traditionally a particular role in both countries, Japan and Germany. For the exhibition at Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund she will work with emulsion and paint on artificial silk.
Lisanne Sloots' work material charcoal is medium and protagonist at a time: Coal represents Millions of years of Earth's history as well as an artistic material to deal with current affairs. In Painting and graphics she is analyzing this duality.
In dialgue with Lisanne Sloots, the photographer and video artist Hanna Smitmanns goes into the matter if a place of rememberance that noone can remember anymore is turning into a no-place or a landscape. Both artists address the transition of a no-place into a landscape and explore the transformation processes with materials found in situ.

Participating artists:

Hiroko Inoue, Painting
Rainer Komers, Film
Lisanne Sloots, Painting / Graphics
Hanna Smitmans, Photography / Video

Hiroko Inoue
, * in Osaka (J), lives in Nara, Berlin, Muelheim (Ruhr)

„After the traumatic experience of the disastrous Kobe earthquake in 1995 of which Hiroko was personally affected, death was sitting on her table next to life. Death made made a ruminative face and he came in black and white. It was only after her show in Muelheim 2003 that she rediscovered colour. Meanwhile she had made a home in the Western world and something 'Japanese' that I had perceived in the pictoral gestus of her black-and-white prints got lost due to the documentary character of the colour. As far as I can see, Hiroko is passing through a phase of skinning. She wants to break away from the cross-barred 'isolated facilities' and turn towards a species that is traditionally playing a particular role Japan as well as in Germany: the forest, the trees and its leaves. For the exhibition at Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund she wants to do so once more with black-and-white emulsion on artificial silk, with brush and paint.
I am attending Hiroko's work since 1999. In this year she came to Duesseldorf as
holder of a stipend from the Goethe-Institut.
To conclude her stay she presented her installation „Absence“ at the Atelier am Eck. Blurred views of cross-barred windows - mounted on light boxes - were gleaming in a darkened room; on the wall, illuminated, a wheeled hospital bed and above it - dillusively real - a transom window which turned out to be a photographed when looked closely at.
Three days before her return flight to Japan, Hiroko asked me if I could accompany her to the memorial site of a former concentration camp. Other than the situation in Germany, war crimes were completely supressed in Japan. I drove her to Bergen Belsen. Shortly before our arrival I directed the car to a clearing and unpacked the picnic basket. Sandwiches and cups on the bonnet of a Peugeot, this close to the place of remeberance was something which she could not understand. She receded a few steps from the car, took her camera and started to frenetically take pictures, trees, nothing but trees, until I had finished the picnic - obviously a displacement activity.
On the the former camp grounds, little reminds of the organized mass extinction, a memorial for Anne Frank, foundations of barracks. When we had lost sight of each other amidst the remnants, Hiroko was calling my name. Then, a warm summer rain came down. I opened an umbrella and she linked arms with me.
On our way back I stopped at several farms to examine potatos and was the called the „potato-man“. Back in Duesseldorf - it was already getting dark - we visited friends of her who lived in a small appartment in the attic. Her Japanese friend serenaded for us to wave farewell: „Es waren zwei Königskinder…“ (Once ther were two noble children...).
Hiroko took the plane the next morning. „Das Wasser war viel zu tief…“ (The water was much too deep...) She came back one year later. The Cultural Department of the City of Duesseldorf had again offered her a guest studio. Since the we work together, often over great distances. I print her works at Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, take care of permits for photography, help with exhibitions. She assists me at the production of my films, especially at the „Kobe“ film, which I could never have realized without her, but also in Alaska, in Yemen and most recently in Montana. She took her camera on these film tours and continued working on her series „isolated facilities“.
(Rainer Komers in conversation with Horst Herz, September 11, 2010 in the ICE train to Berlin, excerpt)

Rainer Komers, *1944, lives in Muehlheim (Ruhr)

Milltown, in German “Muehlheim”, a place in Western Montana at the confluence of Blackfoot and Clark Fork River. A place where timber was processed, initially with water power and then, after the Milltown Dam had been erected, with electric energy. The Clark Fork River comes from Butte, 120 miles south-east of Milltown, once the largest mining city in the US. The dam and the hydropower plant have recently been pulled down; the timber mill has been shut down. In summer, the canoeists add some colour to the industrial wasteland, but anglers won’t show up here. Toxic substances and heavy metals, carried by the river from the mines at Butte and from the copper mill at Anaconda to the former water reservoir, have contaminated the ground. In a move to renaturalize the landscape, the contaminated sludge, an estimated 14 million truck loads, is now to be removed and shipped upstream to a place called Opportunity, which the mining corporation of Anaconda had had erected once as a model village in the green fields next to the copper mill. The Clark Fork River is the largest “Superfund Site”, the biggest renaturalization project in the United States.
Director’s comment: "As a 'child' of the Ruhr District and a citizen of Mülheim the question preoccupies me what will happen after the industry is gone, how life will develop and what will become of the acceleration once ignited by technical processes intrinsic to industrialization? Will there be a new approach towards the rhythm of nature? Will it be possible to unite technology and science with a nature-based life? The descendants of the so-called 'primitive people', how do they live today and how do they interpret ‘progress’, how do they react to the phenomenon of ‘acceleration’? For the last 10 years my films have focused on movement at places in a landscape. There are no hierarchies between things, people and places, they receive equal treatment, their rhythms and gestures are examined. In this respect my films have no protagonists; instead they consist of relations and encounters, prepared and unprepared ones."

Lisanne Sloots, *1971, lives in Tuebingen

no shadow without light
no ashes without fire

Coal, trees, light and shadow. This is the starting point for nearly all the works by Lisanne Sloots. The charcoal that has been found during an excavation is leading back to the material from which it had arisen: the branches of the trees. Photographs of silhouettes of branches serve as visual basis for the artist's images. Silhouettes - black prints against brighter sky. Shadows - they tell us from which direction the light comes from. Colours were absorbed. The image is growing with the interplay of bright and dark. Tranquility emerges.
Ash is like shadow: grey-black. Shadow and ashes are the results of light-energy... and coal is the basis for new energy and light.
Burnt material is the raw material for the paintings and drawings of Lisanne Sloots. Like pigment it is mixed with Arabic gum or wax to produce paint. The evolving works appear vulnerable due to the fine paper and the transparent cloth which serve as paint ground. And yet they are strong.
Impressions become imprints.Through the deployment of black and white, Lisanne Sloots' works lie on the interface between painting and graphics.
Part of her work in the exhibition in Dortmund is created in dialogue with Hanna Smitmans.The artists react to the radical restructuring of Dortmund. As different as their artistic appoaches are: searching for evidence, they meet at former forbidden places, on the huge waste lands of the former steel factories or coke oven plants. Hanna Smitmans and Lisanne Sloots go into the matter if a place of rememberance that noone can remember anymore is turning into a no-place or a landscape. Both artists - each with her own artistic media - address the transition of a no-place into a landscape and explore the transformation processes with materials found in situ.

Hanna Smitmans, *1960, lives in Amsterdam (NL)

„At the core of my work stands the perception of individual processes embedded in the dynamics of the social background. The question of identity is determined by the social space we are living in. It becomes manifest in concrete locations, buildings, landscapes. Locations in turn are designed and modified by the indviduals related to them. This interaction and its critical examination is the starting point for my artistic analysis.
From underrepresented details like the fissure in the wall paper of an abandoned building and every-day situations like the work conditions of a fugitive, the hands of an employee in a cafe, contemporary society codes can be derived.
My media are photography, drawing and the moving image. I observe locations and people with my camera and make interviews. From this footage, single images, series, films, books and three dimensional works are created. My installations are often site specific and developed in synthesis with the location of presentation. Found footage as wall papers, magazines and specifically fabricated objects are often part of the newly created visual landscape.“

organization: Horst Herz

images ©: the artists
photographs opening ©:

kindly suported by:

Sparkasse Dortmund, Cultural Department of the City of Dortmund and