The exhibitions of Tacita Dean and Gerco de Ruijter showed two unique experiments with the camera and the medium of film. The exhibitions were associated with the 27th International Film Festival Rotterdam, which also showed a selection of Dean's films.
Gerco de Ruijter
Dutch artist Gerco de Ruijter (1961) experiments with the eye of the camera in an unusual way. He photographs landscapes through a camera attached to a kite. The bird's eye perspective and absence of a horizon line, our eye’s normal orientation point, create a peculiar and enigmatic abstraction of the Dutch landscape, making De Ruijter’s photographs closer to painting than to documentary photography. De Ruijter’s inventive and experimental working method permits us to go beyond the physical restrictions of our human vision. His work reminds us of our desire to see and our will to be able to realize an impossible experience.
In films shot from his kite, it becomes apparent how little control De Ruijter has over the images his camera records. Go and have a look at two of these films, shot from a kite (Quicktime): mov1 and mov1.
The viewer gets caught up in De Ruijter’s amazement with the beauty of what is for the human eye practically imperceptible –even unattainable– but which can be made visible with the help of the camera’s mechanical eye.
The work of British artist Tacita Dean (1965) revolves around the narrative character of cinema and the processes used to make films. Often inspired by chance discovery, she weaves her tales through films, photographs, drawings and objects. A picture or sentence in a book, a name or an incident, can lead to further investigation into the found subject. Her stories –which mostly recount mysterious incidents– shift between fact and fiction. Thus the viewer is able to draw his own interpretation from the complex web of associations evoked by the works.
Dean untangles the medium of film in a variety of ways. Her exhibition appeared as a layered structure of projected and ‘real’ images, sound and stories. It presented film as the verbal and visual representation of sequential movement (storyboards drawn on blackboards); as sound (dubbing sheets and the work Foley Artist); as projected images and as stories (in the films); and as investigations and working processes (framed materials and documents).
In 1994, Witte de With presented the first phase of Dean’s project Girl Stowaway in the group exhibition WATT.