Screening – Conceptual Paradise: There Is a Place for Sophistication – Stefan Romer

In three years of filmic research, the artist and author Stefan Romer has interviewed numerous outstanding international artists with his film team.

In engaging in intellectual exchanges before the camera, Stefan Romer is able to develop a special filmic mode of reflecting on the state of international contemporary art.

The film essay Conceptual Paradise: There Is a Place for Sophistication traces out the debates that allowed the intellectual art movement of Conceptual art to emerge in the 1960s and led to the most relevant questions in art today. The artists speak about their own artistic practices and the socio-historical development of the various conceptual movements. In so doing, it becomes clear that there can be no one valid definition of conceptual art, since a permanent engagement also makes up its theoretical and philosophical complexity, including for example the question of whether there can be art without an object.

In these discussions with the most interesting artists and art theorists alive today, the fiction and ideal of art as political engagement are brought to life. The history of art is a history of struggles around strategies of representation. This makes this film about Conceptual art also a film about filmmaking. Stefan Romer reflects in numerous passages of the film with the well-known German filmmaker Hartmut Bitomsky about the documentary as a genre.

With the documentary essay Conceptual Paradise, Stefan Romer continues his analytic engagement with forms and modes of narrative for artistic documentation. Beside his extensive body of photography, his recent work includes the Super 8 film Corporate Psycho Ambient and The Analysis of Beauty, a short film produced on the basis of single photographic montages (on the DVD Loop Pool , commissioned by Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen 2005). His filmic praxis extends back before the period of video activism in the mid-1990s, including interview videos, for example on the 1993 exhibition Unfair, and numerous multimedia punk performances in the 1980s.

Artists: Vito Acconci, Art & Language (Michael Baldwin, Mel Ramsden), Michael Asher, John Baldessari, Robert Barry, Hartmut Bitomsky, Mel Bochner, Gregg Bordowitz, Klaus vom Bruch, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Luis Camnitzer, Jan Dibbets, Mark Dion, Sam Durant, Valie EXPORT, Stano Filko, Andrea Fraser, Liam Gillick, Dan Graham, RenGreen, Shilpa Gupta, Hans Haacke, J Koller, Joseph Kosuth, Sonia Khurana, David Lamelas, Sol LeWitt, Thomas Locher, Marcel Odenbach, Yoko Ono, John Miller, Adrian Piper, Yvonne Rainer, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Peter Weibel, Lawrence Weiner, Stephen Willats, Heimo Zobernig.

Curators/Theorists: Alexander Alberro, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Sabeth Buchmann, Charles Harrison (Art & Language), Geeta Kapoor, Geert Lovink, Seth Siegelaub, Gregor Stemmrich.

Made possible with the financial support of Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

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