The vanguard artists from the 1920s sought an independence of both colour and shape from film, where they transposed the same analysis of painting and static images to moving images, similar to the method in kinetic art. What William Hein and his generation achieved was to differentiate cinematic medium by defining its particular features: a film’s materiality, the quality of the projector and screen, the natural effect of celluloid and the projection’s beam of light. Back then, nobody anywhere in the world was interested in this type of project; decades later, an entire group of artists is still living off the legacy left by Hein and his colleagues.
The title You killed the Underground Film or the real Meaning of Kunst bleibt, bleibt… was partly lifted from the text of a performance by Jack Smith at the Cologne Art Fair in 1974, which Hein documented and used in the prologue. Apart from Jack Smith, many other people appeared in the film, such as Marcel Duchamp, George Grosz, Nick Zedd, Arnold Schoenberg, Derek Jarman, Kurt Kren, Jerry Tartaglia, Samuel Beckett, Pete Seeger and Andy Warhol. The film works as a burlesque show full of different aesthetic strategies and possibilities, transcending nostalgia and becoming an affirmation of pure independence.
The filmmaker himself will be attending this session, and he will project bobbins 1 and 3 of the film, which according to the author are the most developed reels.
You Killed the Underground Film or The Real Meaning of Kunst Bleibt, Bleibt, Wilhelm Hein, 1989 - 2007, 16mm, 120 min