Tell it to the Stones. The Work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 19:00 to Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 16:00

Tell it to the Stones.
The Work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub
Exhibition – Film Retrospective – Rencontres – Arnold Schönberg Week
14 September – 19 November 2017
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg

The Akademie der Künste is dedicating an extensive two-month programme cycle to the oeuvre of Danièle Huillet (1936-2006) and Jean-Marie Straub (*1933). Tell it to the Stones - The Work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub opens up new perspectives on the cinematic work of both filmmakers by placing the films in an interdisciplinary context: The two-month exhibition highlights their working method, relating it to current artistic positions. To talk about and debate the films had always been an integral part of the practice of Huillet/Straub. During the exhibition, multi-day Rencontres will invite the public to take up diverse ways of speaking and forms of debate. The second week of October highlights the references to the composer Arnold Schönberg which are of central importance for several films. The programme is rounded off and accompanied by a complete retrospective of the films – the first in Berlin since 1990.

In a collaboration lasting almost 50 years, Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub created one of the most influential and at once most controversial works of modern cinema. In the 1960s, some saw in its unconventionality the beginning of a new German cinema, while others were appalled by the alleged lack of respect towards traditional cinema.

The oeuvre of Huillet/Straub today encompasses almost 50 films which are, amongst others, based on materials by Böll, Kafka, Hölderlin, and Brecht. The work has been shaped by its discussion on and often also its conflict with the textual source. The films give the texts a new topicality, which, in turn, makes the present acquire new urgency; they not only transform and translate text, but also music (Bach, Schönberg), and painting (Cézanne), as well as clouds, stones, wind, light. With the films of Huillet/Straub, the cinema becomes a space where something happens and becomes present sensually and politically, making film a medium for fundamentally calling into question the present as well as the conventions of cinema and its commercialisation. This makes the films of Huillet/Straub highly topical, and the oeuvre, whose anachronisms had often been intensely polemicised, today turns out to be open, playful, and radically contemporary.

The objective of the two-month-long exhibition is to make visible the work on the films which typically remains invisible. It bears witness to the traces of translation and mediation between an idea and its technical implementation, thereby inevitably placing particular emphasis on Danièle Huillet’s contribution to the collaborative work. The exhibition space is structured by Jean-Marie Straub’s film Kommunisten (2014), a six-part retrospective and compilation of the collaborative oeuvre. Numerous documents from various institutional and private collections introduce the creative processes, specific locations, and a wide network of colleagues, friends, and supporters. At the same time, the exhibition also reflects the contemporary relevance of the oeuvre. Six international contemporary artists have produced new works which take up, continue, annotate, and redirect the aesthetic and topographic journeys in Huillet/Straub's oeuvre.

A programme of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, curated by Annett Busch and Tobias Hering. In cooperation with BELVA Film, and the Zeughauskino, Brotfabrik, and fsk cinemas. Funded by the Capital Cultural Fund, supported by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, and the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna.

Tell it to the Stones.
The Work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub
Exhibition – Film Retrospective– Rencontres - Arnold Schönberg Week
14 September – 19 November 2017

Program and more info

Photo credits:
Danièle Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub, auf dem Balkon ihres Hauses in Rom, 1996
Photo © Antonia Weisse

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