Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch is pleased to present Identity's Rule of Three, the latest video work by the German duo Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani created with the Swiss artist Bertold Stallmach.
An animated film in three acts, the title refers to a type of cross multiplication used in mathematics to solve equations. Indeed, this work poses questions on various aspects of human identity and society, with irony and a sense of humour. Its genesis lies in the heated debate unleashed around the creation of an ethnological museum in the rebuilt castle of the city of Berlin. The castle has its origins in the XV century; following serious damage during WWII, it was demolished in 1950, and in the year 2013, the local and central government, together with private funding, decided to start a faithful reconstruction to house an ethnological museum which would also include a series of African artefacts imported to Germany during its colonial period. This is the start of a journey which explores the limits of geographical, artistic and social identity and authenticity, the relations between South and North and the role played by Africa in and for Europe.
'The Identity of a Society', the main chapter of the video, shows two nonconformists, Iso and Jenga, wandering in an unknown desert in their journey of self-discovery during which their travels cross with those of four refugees. Theoretical reflections on social structure and the relations of power run through the entire episode. A hill of sand is used as a metaphor for this same structure, bring to the surface many questions: how does a society define itself? How is it structured and what are its values?
As introduction, two short episodes which take on the theme of identity through other experiences. “The Identity of an Individual” in which the authors stage a psychological study on the relationship between perception of oneself and the projection of oneself: How I am and how the others see me? “The Identity of an Artistic Position”, however, interrogates the independence of the artistic approach and its presumed interchangeability.
Using a stop-motion technique with funny naïf clay and steel wire sculptures, the artists develop a playful and immediate language which unveils the underlying structures of society and interpersonal relations which stimulates new debate.
The work of Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani focuses on the space of transition and situations of emptiness in urban landscapes, on memory and collective vision, using different expressive languages such as film, video, installations, sculpture and photography. Their critical reflection aims at the ascent and fall of modernity and in particular, to the intense and worrying relationship between today’s society and the utopian projects which have guided our historical evolution from the past towards the future. Their work constantly researches and debated on transitions linked to the passage of time.
Bertold Stallmach's animated videos and installations face the theme of social interaction as power and impotence, collective and individualism, through a child-like and humorous language which in the space of a few minutes is able to unveil the critical points of social structures and the complexity of human relations. His videos are the result of a complex work of elaboration and construction of architectural models and sculptures in plasticine and other varied materials. The craftsmanship in the work enhanced by the stop-motion technique allows the artist to maintain a high level of spontaneous creativity.
Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani (Germany, 1965 and 1966) visual artists and directors together since 1995, both live and work in Berlin. From 2007 to 2010 they were lecturers in Film and Media Art at the University of Sapporo, Japan. Since 2015 Nina Fischer is professor of Experimental Film and Media Art at the Universität der Künste Berlin. They were awarded the Karl-Hofer-Prize and numerous other artistic residencies, such as: Accademia Tedesca di Villa Massimo, Rome; DAAD in Tokyo; Cité des Arts in Paris; Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Villa Kamogawa, Kyoto. They exhibitions include: 2015 Aargauer Kunsthaus; 2014 MART, Dublin; 2013 Mamam Recive; 2012 Austin Museum of Art; Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, The Netherlands; 2010 Museum of Contemporary Art Hiroshima; 2009 Kunsthaus Glarus; 2007 Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; 2005 Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media; 1998 Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo. Their joint exhibitions include: Aichi Triennial 2013; Curitiba Biennial 2013; Media City Seoul Biennial 2012 and 2014; 10th Istanbul Biennial 2007; Sydney Biennial 2002; Manifesta 4, Frankfurt 2002; Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, 1999; Gwangju Biennial 1995, 2002, 2008
Bertold Stallmach (South Africa, 1984) lives and works between Zurich and Berlin. He studied visual arts at the University of Zurich and at Future University in Hakodate, Japan. In 2013 he was awarded the Swiss Federal Art Prize. His personal exhibitions include: 2015 Aargauer Kunsthaus, Switzerland; Kunstverein Young Art, Wolfsburg, Germany; 2014 Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland; 2013 Cruise & Callas, Berlin; 2012 Kunstraum Foth, Freiburg; Service Building, Zurich. His joint exhibitions include: 2014 ACCU Emmen, Emmenbrücke, Switzerland; Lanef, Manderscheid, Switzerland; Voegele Cultural Center, Pfaeffikon, Switzerland; Battery, Emmen, Switzerland; 2013 Villa Merkel, Esslingen am Neckar, Germany; Le Commun, Bâtiment d'art contemporain, Geneva; Art Arsenal Rapperswil, Switzerland; “Swiss Art Awards" Exhibition Center Basel; 2012 Alpineum Produzentengalerie, Switzerland; Art Arsenal Rapperswil, Switzerland; 2011 Sihlquai 55, Zurich; 2010 «Swiss Art Awards", Exhibition Center, Basel.