In Remembrance of Times Past
Group show in the frame of 'Erfgoeddag 2013' with works by Marie André, Marta Bergman and Peter Krüger & Gerrit Messiaen.
In the context of 'Heritage Day 2013', with this year’s theme of 'Stop the Time', Argos presents In Remembrance of Times Past, a series of video portraits from Argos’s own collection. The project presents the works in an architectural setting that incorporates elements from the works themselves, and also echoes the atmosphere to which they appeal. In the art of painting, the portrait can be viewed as a “freezing in time”. The video portraits presented here go back to the tradition of direct cinema and cinéma vérité, but they are also rooted in the tradition of the family and friends portrait, as well as in that of the home movie. They feature portraits of women of a certain age or who are getting on to a certain age, but they also contain personal reflections on how Brussels once started to transform and how it is strongly changing today.
The spotlight is thus on memory. While the camera records images of women in Brussels, how they go about they daily business, how they reminisce about their youth in the capital or elsewhere, we hear stories about a Brussels that will never be the same again. The videos—Marie André’s collection of five portraits of women, Krüger & Messiaen’s record of Roberte’s nocturnal escapade and Marta Bergman’s story of the last months of her grandmother in a Brussels home for the elderly—have all been made with a very limited budget. The authors all used a hand-held camera, and no complex post-production or editing was involved. The film makers are invariably close to their subjects: there is for example the filming mother and daughter or the filming granddaughter. On the one hand that allows them to record the everyday, seemingly trite actions of their subjects in an “objective” manner, as if the camera wasn’t there. On the other hand the lack of distance results in an emotional tension. The viewer is forced to enter into a particularly intimate relationship with the work: the portraits present to the viewer a contract that alternately seeks to command respect and gravitates towards voyeurism.
The concept of In Remembrance of Times Past emphasizes this intimacy and recognizability. The works of the three film makers are presented in a setting of three small houses. What is evoked inside, is not the atmosphere of just any living room with a television set—it is the atmosphere of the home and the habitat of the filmed women themselves. The videos as such belong to the collection of Argos, which comprises more than 4,000 audiovisual titles. (IS)
Marie André, Galerie de portraits, 1982, 45' 49".
Marta Bergman, Heureux séjour, 2002, 59'.
Peter Krüger & Gerrit Messiaen, Roberte's Dance: a Saturday Night in Brussels,