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Casino Luxembourg

Exhibitions

Filip Markiewicz, Voyage au bout d'une identité, 2015. Couleur / Format 2.35:1 / 35 minutes. © Filip Markiewicz.

Filip Markiewicz, Low Cost Symphony, 2014. Couleur / Format 2.35:1 / 17 minutes. © Filip Markiewicz.

Filip Markiewicz, Apotheke am Hermannplatz, 2010. Noir et Blanc / Format 1.85:1 / 6 minutes. © Filip Markiewicz.

1.7 — 1.8.2016 BlackBox

Filip Markiewicz

curator(s): Bettina Heldenstein

"Today's Europe is a consequence of what happened here fifty years ago or so."

Throughout Filip Markiewicz's work on film we see through his Eye and Mind. The camera, often hand-held at eye level, observes the presented situations with a deft clarity and elegant composition. Whether the scene is found, such as a busker by a pharmacy in Apotheke am Hermannplatz (2010), or a constructed environment with actors interacting with detailed props in Journey to the End of an Identity (2015), the artist controls our viewpoint.

"Drawing is dangerous ... A Weapon of Mass Construction."

In Empire of Dirt (2007) we attend a punk party night in a white cube. Graffitti, guitars, girls and guys fill the confined space with energy and aggression. Inspired by the Virginia Tech massacre, the film captures rebellion overlayed with a serene Arvo Part piano soundtrack. Music is an important partner in the artist's films. Back on the pharmacy corner of Hermannplatz, we, the distant viewer, stare in silence across the street. We quietly read the busker's sign, "Life is like a wheel", and his desire to sell his sax to return to his family. The mournful tune fades in as we turn to look closely at the player. Street sounds, a car horn, an altercation act as counterpoint to his melody before abruptly ending in a jarring silence.

"Paradise is sometimes very close to hell."

Musical form may be detected subtly playing out in Low Cost Symphony (2010). A band of allegro buskers play in a subway; a downbeat adagio café conversation; a scherzo rocker's guitar; presto, the finale of a demonstration's drums and chants. Pop icons pervade the political discourse between the two protagonists in Journey to the End of an Identity from Bonnie Tyler to Conchita Wurst cited as summing up "a whole European era in three minutes". Kitsch and pomp are wryly juxtaposed and sampled in the artist's editing and polemical statements and in locations too. From the European Parliament's grand halls to fairytale folly bridges, 'Stalin's gift' (Palace of Culture) in Warsaw to regular street cafés and more, the locations are equal in weight, each used as a readymade film set.

"Real life is cinema."

Journey to the End of an Identity is the artist's most ambitious work on film to date. The centrepiece of his 2015 commission representing Luxembourg at the Venice Biennale, this is a single-screen version that was an immersive, multi-screen environment. The concentration results in movement, continual cuts between scenes reinforce the sense of a wider environment throughout the piece. At select moments the edit will rest, following one shot, again using contrast and stillness, encouraging a breath and refocus to drink in the densely layered work.

Voyage au bout d'une identité (Journey to the End of an Identity), trailer: https://vimeo.com/146519392

"A drop of water for many people, but a drop can also be a tear, and tears are history."

History fills Filip Markiewicz's work. I see memory, consequence, ardour and anger in every scene - but I am aware that my eyes are loaded right now. I am writing on 17 June 2016 in London, UK. Yesterday in the lead up to a referendum vote on whether the UK will remain in the EU a young, female MP was shot dead by a Britain First supporter. Britain's position as a world leader in diplomacy is in question. Throughout Europe the far right has been steadily rising touting fear and hate. Excerpts from the artists' manifesto FOR THE TECHNOLOGY OF DEPOLITICIZATION OF THE BODY, inspired by the assassinated John Lennon, are proclaimed in Journey to the End of an Identity: "Imagine that each human body has the right to live a dignified life in the country it has chosen to live in." This is hard to read right now.

"It frightens me but I like to look at it."

Journey to the End of an Identity moves between Poland and Luxembourg, using the locations' architectural testaments to differing ideologies of Europe past and present. The ambiguities and fragility of Europe, Luxembourg and memory are played out in the performed conversations between the two protagonists as they pass seamlessly through locations, languages, soundtracks and genre.

"Our memory depends on Google."

A prop from the Polonia Palace Hotel remains in my mind: a $100 bill emblazoned with a palimpsest SORRY. The piece succinctly comments on Luxembourg's role as a proud tax haven (regardless of consequences for its neighbours) yet, like much of the artist's works, the piece echoes across geography and history.

"Dancing also means falling, and falling mainly means getting back up again."

Catherine Hemelryk

Artistic director at NN Contemporary Art Northampton (UK)
Written in the European Union. 17 June 2016

Preview weekend at ChannelBox (1.7. - 4.7.2016)

Filip Markiewicz's films can be seen in preview screenings at the Casino Luxembourg ChannelBox within the frame of Mudam's 10th anniversary weekend, Friday 1 July to Monday 4 July.

BlackThursday, 7.7.2016, 7 pm

Raftside Leaks
Conference/performance

with Filip Markiewicz
Tom Bauler, professor for economy, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Luc Schiltz, actor

Opportunity to dine at the ca(fé)sino after the meeting.
Booking requested: T (+352) 26 27 02 79 or cafesino@casino-luxembourg.lu

images

Filip Markiewicz, Voyage au bout d'une identité, 2015. Couleur / Format 2.35:1 / 35 minutes. © Filip Markiewicz.

Filip Markiewicz, Low Cost Symphony, 2014. Couleur / Format 2.35:1 / 17 minutes. © Filip Markiewicz.

Filip Markiewicz, Apotheke am Hermannplatz, 2010. Noir et Blanc / Format 1.85:1 / 6 minutes. © Filip Markiewicz.