Reappearance (2022)

37 min. film

by Eszter Salamon

In the empty spaces of a museum, a female figure wanders about, naked. She bears a strong resemblance with German avant-garde artist Valeska Gert. All at once intruder, agitator and entertainer, she plays with the museum’s empty architecture, occupies the cinematic space, uses the camera as a tool for emancipation. Juggling with surveillance and the desire to be seen, she transforms invisibility into presence as her body and voice inhabit historical traces, autobiographical memories, and fiction.

Reappearance is a cinematic speculation on history and memory. The film is based on two anecdotes recounted by Valeska Gert in her autobiographical book, Ich bin eine Hexe: in one, she dances naked for her lover, a pianist, in exchange for the pieces he composed for her. In the other, set in London in the mid-1930s, she tries her hand at writing a film script. Over the course of three weeks, she dictated her ideas to a man until she realised he was a drug addict and his transcripts were illegible. Reappearance is structured around this loss and Gert’s explorations of different media: dance, theatre, cabaret, and film. At its heart are the issues of female subjectvity and the materiality of the female body, as well as Valeska Gert’s use of the grotesque.


Reappearance reflects on the physical and artistic impermanence of performance and the moving image’s potentiality in constituting a space for altering the historical canon, and for creating a ‘tunnel to the future’; a trans-historical space of artistic and political dimensions. A cinematic manifesto against oblivion, Reappearance celebrates the genealogy that connects female artists from different periods by composing a trans-historical body, a kind of hybridisation formed with the visions and gestures of two artists: Valeska Gert and Eszter Salamon.

It is the first of a planned series of four films, which will also be combined into a multi-channel video installation.


Director Eszter Salamon Performance Eszter Salamon Director of Photography Marie Zahir Dramaturgical Advisor, Outside eye Nora de Baan Sound Recordist Nora de Baan Editing Minze Tummescheit Colour Grading Arne Hector Sound Design, Music, and Re-recording Mixing Felicitas Heck Music Variation waltz #1 and waltz #2 written and performed by Felicitas Heck, original theme "Sobre las Olas" by Juventino Rosas (1888) Camera and Sound Equipment flockefilm GmbH, Florian Brückner Postproduction Studio cinéma copains Production Botschaft GbR / Alexandra Wellensiek, Studio ES / Elodie Perrin

Coproduced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Acziun by Muzeum Susch / Art Stations Foundation CH Supported by the NATIONAL PERFORMANCE NETWORK - STEPPING OUT, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR. Assistance Program for Dance Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, the Regional Directory of Cultural Affairs of Paris – Ministry of Culture and Communication

Special Thanks to Grazyna Kulczyk / Muzeum Susch founder, Joanna Lesnierowska/ Acziun Susch curator, Krzysztof Kosciuczuk /Muzeum Susch artistic director, and the team of Art Stations Foundation CH and PL (Sandra Bradvic, Marta Harasimowicz, Karolina Mazur, Peider Müller), Lucile Desamory, Christoph Fey / Von Have Fey Rechtsanwälte, Nanna Heidenreich, Anselm Heller, Caroline Kirberg, Robert Ralston, Alain Roux, Isabell Spengler, Antje Volkmann

copyright 2022 Eszter Salamon


Reappearance was recorded in August 2020 at Muzeum Susch, CH during the Evelyne Axell's BODY DOUBLE exhibition (curated by Anke Kempkes, Krzysztof Kościuczuk).

Reappearance relates in various ways to the following works by Valeska Gert: Humoreske (1916), Modedame (1917), Pause (1920), Kupplerin (1920), Laster (1920), Orgasmus (1922), Clown (1922), Versammlung (1931), Schlummerlied (1950’s), Grüsse aus dem Mumienkeller (1926), as well as anecdotes and thoughts articulated in her autobiographical book Ich bin eine Hexe. Kaleidoskop meines Lebens (1968).

Some of the performative elements in the film have been developed after a series of works called The Valeska Gert Monuments; the sound installation Love Letters to Valeska Gert (2016) by Eszter Salamon, as well as the performances The Valeska Gert Museum (2017), and The Valeska Gert Monument (2017), both created in collaboration with artist and performer Boglárka Börcsök.




                         

         
     



Eszter Salamon in Reappearance (2022), 37 min., short film directed by Eszter Salamon, filmed at Muzeum Susch, in 2020.


At the background Evelyne Axelle’s painting Le mur du son, 1966 © Marie Zahir (Film Still)

The image features Evelyne Axelle’s paintings Ceinture de Sécurité I and II, 1966 © Marie Zahir (Film Still)


© Marie Zahir (Film Still)