PLAY Gallery for Still and Motion Pictures is a gallery and a showroom for art projects based in Berlin focusing on the relationship between film, video and art. The main goal of our gallery is to fascinate and stimulate visitors with new visual languages and narratives that represent an aesthetical and intellectual alternative to the flood of images transmitted by traditional media and advertising. To do it, we invite artists, curators and film-makers to submit proposals aimed specifically at Play space. The organization of workshops - in co-operation with universities and academies - fosters the definition of new ways to analyse contemporary art and the way it is experienced. In this very context, we screen the best Offs coming from festivals and ask experts to provide introductions and comments.
While working on the strategy for this new venture, we knew we would have used a non-traditional approach in showing artists’ projects. The ideas and works we have been exposed to had a strong impact on our thoughts, influencing the way we consider our role and responsibility in the cultural field of our choice.
When we developed the idea of producing a public screening of 19 works by young or emerging international artists dealing with video-art, film and animation, we asked 8 curators and experts we believe have a big relevance in these fields to present us with their choice.
Ellen Pau (HK), Francesco Manacorda (GB), Kathrin Becker (Germany), Leng Lin (China), Michael Darling (USA), Michelle Maccarone (USA), Milovan Farronato (Italy), Ombretta Agro (USA).
Every curator invited different artists to send their most recent video and film work to the gallery. More than fifty artists responded. We screened over 170 videos, starting a process that eventually led us to reconsider our way of evaluating art. We watched all works from the beginning to the end, enjoying the diversity and individuality of all projects. Some documented performative elements while, in others, artists talked about themselves and their work. All had different editing styles and narrative structures. We learned a lot about the impact of sound in general and about the human voice in particular: singing, telling stories or shouting. We learned about the driving force of those emotional moments that can mirror changes at personal, social and environmental level. We learned about the transformation of typography, graphic design and animation in a different context. We witnessed subjective attitudes and highly conceptual approaches. Everything we experienced will be written down and available for visitors.
The most striking sensation was feeling an incessant tension between
us - as viewers - and the artists’ subjective, different
visual languages. After screening so many videos we remembered some while
others vanished from memory. We valued the production of new, original
images rather than the use of found footage, with the exception of those
works where the use of ready-made footage or image-bank material was
appropriate and conceptually consistent. After two month of deep research
we came across 19 artists who stand out in our memory and 19 works we
found of outstanding quality.