Saturday, May 20, 2006

Kenneth Anger in Bremen

Those who happen to be visiting the German town of Bremen until 25 June (as you do) should take the opportunity to see a show of Kenneth Anger's films at the Künstlerhaus Bremen under the title Pleased to Meet You (ed: a reference to the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil, which rock and roll legend says was inspired by Mr Anger).

The text that accompanies the show gives us a brief introduction to Mr Anger's life and times:

"At the Festival du Film Maudit in Biarritz in 1949 a group of young cinéastes came together. With their challenge to established cinema, they incorporated the new generation, the later Nouvelle Vague. The winner of the festival in the category Poetic Film was the 19-year-old American Kenneth Anger with his film Fireworks. One weekend in 1947 – Mr. and Mrs. Anger had gone to a funeral – 17-year-old Kenneth had availed himself of the opportunity and made an experimental film in his parents' apartment; it was to become a milestone in the history of the genre. While the Nouvelle Vague attempted to oppose the bourgeois traditions of the cinema, Anger's films constituted a critique of the dream factory Hollywood. He had his own, very different approach to collective dreams, myths and desire. Anger's films are not narrative, they present images of magic rituals in which each sign points to some unknown transcendence. The heightened sensuality resulting from the intensely opulent colours and the way individual images are blended imbue these films with a baroque splendour. Anger's technique of linking image and sound and his borrowings from popular culture were formative and would later impact the genre of the music video. Anger inspired the Rolling Stones to their hit song Sympathy for the Devil and greatly influenced film directors such as David Lynch, Donald Cammell, Roger Corman, R. W. Fassbinder and Martin Scorsese, who called Anger “an artist of exceptional imagination”."

This exhibition of Kenneth Anger's oeuvre at the Künstlerhaus Bremen is his first solo exhibition in Germany.

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