Reality Would Have to Begin
Art Encounters Foundation / TIMISOARA (Romania)
01.10.2020 – 31.10.2020
As a director, screenwriter, artist and author, Harun Farocki (1944–2014) created an impressive body of work, including over 100 films, which defy categorization in a single genre: films made for the German television, feature films screened at major international festivals, later, to installations specifically designed for artistic venues and exhibited worldwide. He is known for his unique voice and experimental approach to the image and montage—constantly bringing the dialogue between image and image into a close-up—as well as for the way he formulates a critical discourse on history and social realities which he analyses meticulously by linking the political to the visual.
The exhibition Reality Would Have to Begin at the Art Encounters Foundation in Timișoara presents a large selection of Harun Farocki's films, videos and installations created from the 1980s to 2014, part of them in collaboration with the artist and director Antje Ehmann (b. 1968), with whom he’d been working since the early 2000s. A section of this exhibition focuses on his multi-channel video installations which make up an "archive of filmic expressions" (as Farocki called it) based on excerpts from the film history, found footage, and the method of pairing these fragments through soft-montage. Another part of the exhibition is dedicated to the film essays about the traces and history of Nazi concentration camps and the politics of a new visual typology generated by data banks and operative image archives, containing "more images than the eye can see". The third thematic section of the exhibition follows another recurrent theme of Farocki’s work: labor as reflected in a social-political context.
The title Reality Would Have to Begin was inspired by Harun Farocki's 1988 essay of the same title, translated into English in 1992, and which served as the basis of the film Images of the World and the Inscription of War [ Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges ]. This title suggests a turning point, a movement towards changing an unbearable situation. Specifically, these words are a call to block access to nuclear weapons, and they recall a statement by the philosopher Günther Anders which highlights the failure of the Allies to bomb the access to the Auschwitz camp and to stop further crimes in World War II. To understand what is present but cannot be seen, reality would have to begin.
The exhibition Harun Farocki – Reality Would Have to Begin is organized by Art Encounters Foundation and the German Cultural Center Timișoara, with the kind support of Goethe Institut, Harun Farocki GbR and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein.
A considerable number of works will be presented for the first time in Romania in a major exhibition dedicated to Harun Farocki. The program related to the exhibition will include several other events, encouraging the public to fully immerse in Farocki’s fascinating filmmaking, such as the launch of the Romanian translation of the autobiography Harun Farocki: Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty , edited by Antje Ehmann and Marius Babias, published by IDEA Design & Print Cluj and the screening of the film In Comparison followed by a debate, as part of the Timișoara Architecture Biennial – BETA 2020 program.
Curated by Diana Marincu (Assistant curator Georgia Țidorescu)