YOU KILLED THE UNDERGROUND
Friday 19 May 2006, at 7:30pm WILHELM HEIN: PERFEKT! YOU KILLED THE UNDERGROUND FILM Wilhelm Hein, punk pioneer of the German underground, presents You Killed The Underground Film, or The Real Meaning of Kunst Bleibt, Bleibt, a diaristic odyssey that slides from the sublime to the ridiculous, between document and performance. Jack Smith, Nick Zedd and others appear in the film, which transcends nostalgia to become a pure and progressive affirmation of independence. Defiant, didactic and polemical, this sprawling opus is a kick in the teeth for convention. Hein began filmmaking in the 1960s, with rough collages that were audio-visual assaults on the senses. A true radical, who has resisted become part of the establishment, Wilhelm Hein remains committed to the underground and maintains a subversive practice dedicated to the freedom of expression. You Killed The Underground Film, or The Real Meaning of Kunst Bleibt, Bleibt Wilhelm Hein (Germany), 2002-06, bw & colour, sound-on-cd, 120 mins
Assembled from over 10 years of footage he shot and collected, Wilhelm Heins new film is a fascinating and challenging example of what it means to make politically relevant underground film in an increasingly rented world. The films title is partly taken from a text of a performance by Jack Smith at the 1974 Cologne Art Fair that Hein documented and uses here in the films prologue. On the soundtrack we hear Smiths familiar, almost comforting, nasaldrone bemoaning museums, the art market and artists whose images suck the life out of their subjects, and the thinning of art. Images of Hein next to various public sculptures and monuments in Poland, the Ukraine, and Russia accompany parts of Smiths rant. In this sequence, as in many others (for instance, the witty nod to Andrew Warhola set in Warsaw and scored with A Night In Tunisia), Heins unexpected combination of sound and image, of references and citations, calls to mind what might be one of the films central concerns: what can underground film tell us about the changes in Eastern Europe over the past 15 years? Heins revue-like film demonstrates the relevance of asking the question while offering numerous ways of answering it. The film functions as a burlesque show of aesthetic strategies and possibilities, invoking either directly or indirectly a mix of Heins favourites, including Marcel Duchamp, George Grosz, Nick Zedd, Arnold Schoenberg, Derek Jarman, Kurt Kren, Jerry Tartaglia, Samuel Beckett, Pete Seeger, Jack Smith, Andy Warhol and many more. Hein never slips into a mode of irony or cynicism while poignantly and beautifully juxtaposing an earnest humanitarian Michael Jackson song with some re-edited Japanese porn. With his sexy, playful and contemplative film, Hein asks of the underground what Jack Smith asked of Maria Montez: give socialist answers to a rented world! (Marc Siegel) Curated by Mark Webber for Goethe-Institut London. screening at The Horse Hospital Colonnade Bloomsbury London WC1N 1HX Tickets: 5 / 4 (members & concessions) Telephone: 020 7833 3644 Nearest Tube: Russell Square www.thehorsehospital.com www.goethe.de/london WILHELM HEIN: PERFEKT! continues at the Goethe Institute (South Kensington) on Saturday 20 May. 4pm: Wilhelm Hein & Malcolm Le Grice screening and informal discussion on Materialist filmmaking in the 60s & 70s. 7:30pm: Wilhelm Hein’s Secret Cabinet including films by Andy Warhol, Kurt Kren, Dieter Roth, Tony Conrad, Peter Weibel, Viennese Aktionists Gunther Brus and Otto Muehl, and from the German underground: Annette Frick, Die Tödliche Doris and Lukas Schmied.