directors lounge monthly screening
visions from mexican underground
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Txema Novelo is artist from Mexico City, who just finished his Emare Residency at Bourges, France. He will present his newest work "Still Movie", and a selection of his works connected with Vale Vergas Discos, his music label involved with Mexican underground music. Txema usually works with 16mm or super-8 and each of his films is related to a music piece, and starring the musicians. Unlike commissioned "music videos", these films show the artist's vision for the tunes, taking up a life and a story for themselves, and mixing urban life, images of nature and mythology. "Still Movie" will be presented for the first time in Berlin, as a work-in-progress with 4 of 5 planned chapters of tribute to Walter Schmidt. Schmidt is a largely influential first generation Mexican punk musician. Txema Novelo: 'I share the same church as Dan Graham: "Rock'n Roll is my religion".'
"Still Movie" was partly shot in Germany, at locations that seem to be exotic or resemble Middle America like the botanical garden in Berlin. The story of the film takes the shape of a parable — a young artist apprentice trying to emancipate from his master, to cut his own path. Walter Schmidt, who became friends with Txema a long while ago, appears as the master painter, and Txema in the role of the apprentice, who will split after he has fulfilled his last task: getting the distillate of a white flower that perpetuates Walter's life. Each chapter of the film features a whole track of a contemporary electronic Mexican project that praise and by their own consideration are influenced by the works of Walter Schmidt. Each chapter appears to be a ritual passage with different aesthetics connected with popular and mystic arts, and a mixture of 16mm footage with generated video images. In the end, the rites of passages will conclude as a tribute to Walter Schmidt.
The music films of Txema Novelo bear their own unique aesthetic, which is based on early North American avantgarde films like Jack Smith and experimental music videos. The images often show impressions of cities or nature, scenes in which the musicians appear as silent protagonists without playing the characters of a narrative. The analogue film material, 16mm or super-8, underlines the artist's thumbprint. Txema tells me, when studying film at the film school in Mexico City, the students used to get free short ends from the film industry and very cheap development discounts, making it easier to shoot on film than on video. That is how he came to love the material. The artist's passion, however, always used to be music — rock'n roll and the underground culture. When starting film school, he always wanted to shoot films related to music. Nowadays, together with Maria Tejeda, photographer and producer, he owns his own music label, "Vale Vegas Discos". Together, they always search for new Mexican underground musicians, and try to be their platform. Mostly the income of one record production just finances the next record, and the films Txema shoots shall support the musicians and the label. Many of those musicians would not have money to pay for a music video production. At the same time, Txema Novelo exhibits in art galleries and views his work as independent art.
Curated by Klaus W. Eisenlohr.
The artist will be present for Q&A.