Event Calendar


2 - 12.04.2013
Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata
Friday, 5 April, 6: 30 pm
Max Mueller Bhavan


An evening with Marcel Odenbach and his films Turning in Circles and Disturbed Places. The evening will include the artist introducing his works and later a conversation about his work with filmmaker Nilanjan Bhattacharya.

Disturbed Places, a film that Odenbach made in Kolkata in 2007 will be screened for the first time in Kolkata.

Im Kreise drehen
(Turning in Circles)


Im Kreise drehen uses the means of film to approach the mausoleum at the Majdanek concentration camp near Lublin, Poland. The film opens with a scene of two young men in white shirts rolling around in the grass. The work goes on to explore the monumental memorial; built in 1969 based on a design by Wiktor Tołkin in the socialist-futurist style, it preserves the ashes of murdered human beings in a sort of giant sacrificial urn. Closely scanning the concrete surface in a tracking shot that seems endless, the camera examines the mausoleum’s architectonic and physical structure. The viewer learns what he is looking at only from a series of captions supplying information. The film subsequently features documentary footage from the Jewish ghetto in Cracow overlaid on the pictures of the masonry. The dimensions of the building become discernible as the camera gradually moves from the outside into the mausoleum. The two young men, tourists visiting the site, attempt to bear up against the cold atmosphere of the concrete. Not before the closing credits do we see the huge monument in its entirety.

Disturbed Places

The film’s re-enacted scenes take us to various places in India that would seem to conform to the image we have of that country. A young man in a fabric store announces that he will tell a story in five episodes from his own recollections, noting, however, that these are ‘episodes that may not make sense and that one need not believe’. The scenes that follow reflect idealised visions from the 1960s as much as overdrawn media imagery of the present: a rickshaw ride through big-city traffic, a coffee shop, a journey by train, a visit to a religious site, a river trip. In slow and fluid sequences, some of which are distantly inspired by Werner Herzog’s feature film Fitzcarraldo, a conception of the present emerges that synthesises momentary perception and recollections of Western-influenced ideals. Subtly overlaid shots illustrating hippie culture mingle with past encounters and places that would seem timeless, although in the protagonists’ perspective, they are described as old-fashioned. In the end, a young man, sitting in the bow of a boat, writes on a typewriter the sentences the man from the beginning spoke.

All are welcome

2-12 April
10.00 am to 6.00 pm daily
Max Mueller Bhavan

Showcasing Marcel Odenbach at Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhvana Kolkata

"Im Schiffbruch nicht Schwimmen können" 2011
8:15min, color sound, 16:9

"Männergeschichten 2" 2005
9:41 min, color sound, 16:9

All are welcome

Marcel Odenbach has considerably influenced the development of video as a medium since the 1970s. Odenbach uses characteristic qualities and potentialities of video to express political and social meanings. Repetition and dissolve techniques intensify meaning or create new contexts of meaning. Spatial arrangements set up critical relationships between single film sequences. The artistic scrutiny of social issues of interest and events in Germany’s recent history accentuates their lasting relevance to the present.

Marcel Odenbach

Since the mid-1970s, Marcel Odenbach has produced an extensive body of tapes, performances, drawings and installations, and has gained recognition as one of the most important artists working in the field of contemporary art creations. His works engage in a provocative discourse on the construction of self in relation to historical and cultural representation. For Odenbach, identity is defined in the elusive realm of vision — seeing and being seen. Positioning himself, and thus the spectator, in the role of observer, witness, or voyeur, he undertakes a highly charged inquiry into subjectivity within the context of personal and cultural memory, individual and collective history, past and present.

Marcel Odenbach was born in 1953 in Germany. He studied art history, architecture and semiotics in Aachen, Germany. From 1992-98, he was Professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. Recipient of the prestigious First Marler Video Art Award in 1984, Odenbach won the Grand Prize at the Locarno Video Festival in the same year. Odenbach's works have been exhibited widely at festivals and institutions throughout the world at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Documentas 6 and 8, Kassel, Germany, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and others. Odenbach currently lives in Cologne.

3 and 4 April
Studio 21

The Anatomy and Politics of Video Art

A workshop by Marcel Odenbach

In this workshop Marcel Odenbach will look at the historical and political context of Video Art in relation to his own experimentations with video since 1970s. In course of the workshop Odenbach will delve into varied dynamics integral to the creation of video art. Sighting examples from his own video works he will talk about and analyse his own methods of creation. He will also share his thoughts on the aesthetics and politics of images and sound in video art.

The workshop shall be inclusive and interactive in nature where the participants will share their own understanding of video arts. They will also talk about their contexts and realities in relation to video art production in India. In this workshop, together with the participants, Odenbach would like to explore the changing language of video art practices.

By invitation only

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