A performance-based feature film produced and filmed on location during the month-long performance walk by artist duo VestAndPage from Northern Germany through Poland to the Russian region of Kaliningrad, in May/June 2015.
Taking a private family story and the historical event of post-WWII displacements as starting points, the film focuses on the issue of the replaced - displaced - in-place body. It questions how past and present speak to and through our bodies facing ethical, social and existential challenges. It investigates the process of acceptance of history, its individual and collective archiving, as well as concepts of identity and permeability of cultural boarders. In 7 episodes, the film looks into time, mystery, war, duty, courage, trauma and oblivion.
Stenke's family fled upon the evacuation of East Prussia in winter 1945, in the civil exodus along the Baltic Sea to Northern Germany, crossing over 1100 kilometres of land, never returning from there on. There was no mentioning the war, about what it meant for the life of each member of the family: the artists only knew that they 'fled during the war' and 'came from the north'. In order to facilitate a contemporary discourse on the past to understand the present, for the artists it became necessary to connect lapses and gaps, be they real or fictional. The process of recalling the unsaid, puzzling pieces together, digging dust away, imagining possible worlds whilst mapping impossible ones, opened closed boxes and questioned their insides: the dematerialisation of the past, where oblivion and silence reign above nostalgia.
Teetering between the real, the visionary, and the changing contours of the memories of many, the film features the artists in a sequence of moving images, examined through social and geophysical lenses. Their actions evolve in direct response to the surroundings and objects they found along their way. The camera records what possible spectators would view; yet the movie is not a documentary. Instead the performances are pieced together organically, forming an autonomous story to be read by each viewer in a personal way
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German artist Verena Stenke (born 1981 in Bad Friedrichshall) studied visual arts and theatre, and holds a qualification as SpecialFX make-up artist and is trained in Social and Oriental Theatre, martial arts and contemporary dance. She engages with a poetics of relation and relics of collective memory, inquiring the relation between performance art and film.
Since 2016, she has been working together with Venetian artist and writer Andreas Pagnes as VestAndPage, generating art in the mediums of live performance, film, writing, and as independent curators.
Her works have been produced and presented internationally in a variety of sites, museums and galleries, and have been described as transfixing, confronting, spellbinding, humble, uncomfortable, carrying fresh iconography, cathartic, visceral, liminal, otherworldly, shamanic, tensional, silent, delicate or mysterious.
She has produced, exhibited and performed among others at Museo de Arte Tigre (Buenos Aires), Ex Teresa Arte Actual and Museo Universitario del Chopo (Mexico City), Centro Cultural FIESP - Ruth Cardoso (Sao Paulo), Museo de Arte Moderno (Santo Domingo), Museo Alejandro Otero and CELARG Foundation (Caracas), Alumnos47 Foundation (Mexico City), Sarai Centre (New Delhi), Goodman Arts Centre (Singapore), Alt (Istanbul); Solyanka Gallery (Moscow), Archeological Museum, Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo and Spazio Thetis (Venice), Museum of Fine Arts (Leipzig), Berliner Kunsthalle and Loge Gallery (Berlin), Arnolfin
Italian artist and writer ANDREA PAGNES (born 1962 in Venice) holds degrees in Philosophy and Modern Literature, and certificates of higher studies in Museology, Art Critic and Creative writing. He has been working as a writer, painter, glass sculptor, independent curator, and translated among others" Jurassic Park" into Italian. He founded cultural magazines, and has been the artistic director of a Murano glass factory. He obtained the diploma of Social Theatre operator from Isole Comprese Teatro (Florence, IT) working as an actor and playwright with psychic patients, former drug-addicted and physically disabled people. These experiences significantly determined his approach to arts working on personal conflicts and social responsibilities.
Since 2006, he has been working together with German artist Verena Stenke as VestAndPage, generating art in the mediums of live performance, film, writing, and as independent curators.
His works have been produced and presented internationally in a variety of sites, museums and galleries, and have been described as transfixing, confronting, spellbinding, humble, uncomfortable, carrying fresh iconography, cathartic, visceral, liminal, otherworldly, shamanic, tensional, silent, delicate or mysterious.
He has exhibited and performed among others at Museo de Arte Tigre (Buenos Aires), Ex Teresa Arte Actual and Museo Universitario del Chopo (Mexico City), Centro Cultural FIESP - Ruth Cardoso (Sao Paulo), Museo de Arte Moderno