Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society
January 23 to February 15, 2015
Opening reception: Thursday, January 22, 7-10pm
Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society is a new film installation by German artist Grace Schwindt which revisits discussions she witnessed as a child surrounded by individuals in Frankfurt, Germany. The dialogue running through the film is from an interview that Schwindt conducted with a leftwing activist influenced by the 1960s and 1970s political landscape, shaped by the Frankfurt School, the Outer Parliamentary Opposition and the Baader Meinhof Gang.
Rather than aiming to gain a better understanding of the past, Schwindt attempts to take a system apart — to undo it. Nothing is assumed to be neutral and every movement, word, gesture or colour is understood to have cultural, social, political or economic implications. The artist constructs her own processes of translating language into vivid material, choreographing dancers, set, props, costume, lighting, sound, camera movement and words as elementary forms carrying symbolic power. Each element is equally important and should be read together as a melody where the words or functions of ‘chair’ or ‘terrorism’, ‘clothing’ or ‘freedom’ have equal status.
At feature film length Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society is the product of an extensive rehearsal period with eleven dancers and a dramaturge over a period of five weeks using diagrams to map out a detailed choreography. The film features highly coloured and geometric costumes using aluminium, cardboard, silk and velvet, as well as extensive post-production to create a narrative that questions how freedom was, and is, understood, who has access to it and what political and social structures need to be in place to create a free society. Alongside the installation the exhibition included a newly commissioned sculptural piece, redolent of images pictured in the film. Constructed from salt crystals, bronze and ceramic, it has a bodily suggestion, evoking a sense of place and subject through its shape, materiality and form.
Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society’ was commissioned by FLAMIN Productions through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, Eastside Projects, Birmingham; The Showroom, London; Badischer Kunstverein; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Site Gallery, Sheffield; Tramway, Glasgow; ICIA, University of Bath; and Zeno X Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England, Hessian Film Fund and The Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.
Commissioned by FLAMIN Productions through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, Eastside Projects (Birmingham), The Showroom (London), Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe),
Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Site Gallery (Sheffield ), Tramway (Glasgow), ICIA (University of Bath), Zeno X Gallery (Antwerp) | Supp orted by Arts Council England, Hessian Film Fund, The Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
Grace Schwindt (born 1979, Germany) is an artist based in London working with film, live performance and sculpture. Her theatrical sets for film works use minimal architectural elements and props to mark a location, in which she places bodies including her own. Using a tightly scripted choreography in which every move relates to institutionalised systems she investigates how social relations and understandings about oneself are formed, often through acts of exclusion and destruction. The artist’s interviews with individuals often serve as a starting point for fictionalised dialogues delivered by performers. Represented by Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, her work is distributed by Argos Centre for Media and Art. Recent solo presentations include South London Gallery; ICA, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Spill Festival, Basement, Brighton; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and White Columns, New York. Schwindt was shortlisted for this year’s Jarman Film Award.
Running time: 80 min
Screening times: 12pm, 1.30pm, 3.00pm, 4.30pm daily during gallery opening hours
As part of my internship at the CAG, I was able to assist with the installation of Grace Schwindt’s exhibition. The fun part of this installation was being able to assist with the colour coordination of the 9 jewel toned and naturally dyed ribbons. There was no formula or method to the colour selection, just what looked well together. Grace liked the arrangement so much that she is repeating the colour sequence at Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp where the show is traveling to. In Canada, you can catch the film next at Contemporary Calgary!
– Jas LallyMORE