this summer we present a screening series at z-bar
lemeh42 — alice and the possible cities
conceptual film tales
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Lemeh42, a couple and art group from Senigallia, Italy, are presenting their work on video at Directors Lounge at Z-Bar. The program consists of charming, witty and divers short films. From "Alice in Wonderland" to "Study on Human Form and Humanity #01", the range of touched genres in video and film history is amazingly wide. Such forms as animation of photo motion and drawing, dance film, abstraction, studio cinematography and documentary vision all are included in Lemeh42's work. What makes the work specifically fresh and enjoyable, yet, is the tension between straight, conceptual thinking and a fairy-tale-like romanticism that relates to childhood experiences and fantasies. "Our childhood is like the fundamental years in our lives in which we have prepared everything and now we are using all that material to create our stories." The work seems to fluctuate between the two concepts, which - as Michele admits - reflect their different characters, Michele being the rational conceptual part and Lorenza the romantic-melancholic one. Still, the two concepts always mix, as all their work is collaborative in different ways, in sometimes surprising ways, thus giving all of the video work both a dreamlike atmosphere and a stringent structure, plus, and in addition, a spicy taste of fine humour or irony.
Another element bringing the different pieces together is the collaboration with the musician Marco Scattolini (www.myspace.com/marcoscattolini), whose music for the films is largely based on piano compositions with additional arrangements of electronic or natural instruments. "What we usually do is to give him a video work without telling him which kind of music or sensation he has to stress and incredibly each time he is able to fit the sensation we wanted to express with our images and create a unique piece of art."
When in "Cerca de mi", a work commissioned by Cartel gallery (Granada, Spain), the couple explores and moves in the space of paintings, some of which are known internationally, or when in "Alice in Wonderland", a piece based on principal ideas of Lewis Carroll's novel, but also on real-life experiences of savouring chocolate pralines, the piano music and the film's treatment — the slowness of movement or animation — really reference silent movies and the wonders of early cinema. However, it also and already contains a different, a contemporary concept; for example the split-screen of "Alice in Wonderland" makes the viewer experience different body/space relations of the same photographic image.
"Our education has been influenced mainly by literature", and "when we were at university, when we met, we used to watch tons of classic movies". It may be interesting to mention here that none of the short films, even if based on a play like "Et dukkehjem" - the dollhouse by Ibsen, contain spoken language or dialogue. Instead, words, or for that matter letters, are being emitted by characters in drawings, as in "Cuore de Legeno" and reality seems to be augmented. The thus evoked surrealism is sweet and tender. It is not as much related to André Breton or films like "Le Chien Andalou"∗ as it possibly is similar to the surrealism of "Amélie".∗ Still with their films, the couple likes to make statements on our "reality". Just, as they state, "we have matured our own point of view of reality and its inhabitants."
It sometimes appears, in Lemeh42's films, there may also be another kind of inhabitants, of other worlds or realities — without being totally unrelated to "this reality". For example, in the newest series of very short animations, the "Possible Cities" on a first thought could only be inhabited by different beings. Here, the drawings of Lemeh42, which are part of many of their films, become even more enigmatic, as they do not describe or depict anything that could have been written or drawn by an ethnographic world traveller such as Marco Polo who according to Italo Calvino's novel told the emperor Kublai Khan about the "Invisible Cities".∗ Instead, those animated drawings depict possible realities of cities, as they could not have been seen by any traveller's eyes. However, if we take their title for serious, we have to read those images as concepts that may go back to medieval or archaic ideas, or as prototypes that may alter the understanding of the contemporary homo ludens electronicus. The series of Possible Cities is not finished yet, and it will have it's premiere in September at Art Verona in a special venue organized by L'Ariete Contemporary Art but we are glad to be able to show a part of the series as a preview in Berlin.
Michele Santini/ Lemeh42 will be present at the screening, he will tell us about the collaboration with Lorenza Paolini, and of course, be available for Q&A.
∗Un Chien Andalou (FR 1929) by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali
∗∗ Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (FR 2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
∗∗∗Invisible Cities (IT 1972), novel by Italo Calvino
Z-Bar - http://www.z-bar.de/
Study on landscape and time: The Korsakow syndrome (2008-7min)
I know you are but what am I (2005-4min)
Il silenzio dellminamore (Silence of love) (2006-4min)
Flor de la Alhambra (Flower of the alhambra) (2007-4min)
Cerca de mi (Close to me) (2007-4min)
Study on human form and humanity #01 (2008-1min)
Per fare un tavolo (How to make a table) (2008-3min)
Cuore di legno (Woodheart) (2008-15min)
Image de la plaine (2009-2min)
Possible Cities (Preview) (2009-5min)