“Könnemann describes known worlds but shows them to be unraveling, strange, transient.” Nick Mauss, Artforum
Renowned Berlin video artist Nina Könnemann is offering critiques and workshops to Integrated Media students at OCAD University as part of the InterMedia Artist-in-Residency, a collaboration between OCAD U, the University of Toronto’s Visual Studies at Daniels and the Goethe-Institut. The residency, which runs until November 14, also includes a series of public events, including a screening, artist talk and culture talk.
The residency provides a unique opportunity to examine the worlds Könnemann documents in her works and consider her process and techniques, often described as deceptively simple. Though Könnemann doesn’t use special effects, there’s a destabilizing and disorienting quality to her work that captures imaginations and attention around the globe. Her work shows multiple times a year, both in smaller galleries and in high profile solo shows, including at MoMA in New York and the Camden Centre in London. A retrospective of her work is planned at Kölnischer Kunstvereine, Cologne in 2014.
Playing with time and reality
When writing about Könnemann’s work, critics and reviewers frequently describe the disruption it creates. Viewers can take realism for granted in video, which makes the destabilization in her work ever more powerful and unusual, especially when she’s shooting what seems to be everyday occurrences and events, like people milling around in parks and urban plazas.
“Rarely have I felt so lost as in viewing the videos of Nina Könnemann,” says Noemi Smolik in Artforum magazine. “Lost, because I couldn’t determine the place or the time period in which they were filmed, or even what was taking place in them. Were the events I was observing real, or had they been staged? In this footage, reality seemed to blend into fiction — or was it fiction blending into reality?”
Könnemann’s work, which also examines themes of time, urbanism, globalism, exclusion, public excess and public spaces, creates a sense of unhinging described by Jan Verwoert in Frieze magazine: “Konnemann’s videos make you feel that it takes no more than a gentle slip of the hand or askew glance for reality to unravel. And when the matrix of orchestrated events that regulates social performance does start to come undone, time starts to flow away, space becomes indistinct and the body manifests its intensities in surprisingly minor actions.”
At the same time, Könnemann’s oeuvre can provide meaningful glimpses of what is real, and how things actually are. Turning the commentary upside down, Katha Schulte notes, in an essay in Zusammenhage: “The dramaturgy of a Könnemann video presents events from their peripheries and interstices, now and then even from the point of view of their absence. The Real peers through the gaps, grimacing.”
About the residency
The InterMedia Artist Residency builds on the success of the CrossMedial Residency, developed and organized by the Goethe-Institut Toronto and the OCAD U and the Goethe-UofT InterMedia Residency. Previous guest artists include Lillevan, Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender, Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani, and Daniel Kötter.
The Intermedia Artist Residency
Attend a screening and artist talk: October 26, 2 to 5:00 p.m.
Attend a Culture Talk @ Goethe with Nina Konnemann: November 8, 5:00 p.m.
Nina Konnemann at Galerie Karin Guenther