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A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan

Victoria Pihl Lind2013

Biennale of Sydney

Biennale of Sydney

The Austrian and Romanian poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan were briefly lovers in Paris after the Second World War, but maintained a correspondence throughout their lives until Celan’s suicide in 1970. Victoria Pihl Lind’s video work A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan (2013) takes inspiration from the many letters sent back and forth between the two and the intimate exchanges they shared. Theirs was both a passionate affair and an intellectual meeting of minds, expressed through words and thoughts across distances and time. Each experienced estrangement from their place of origin and felt pulled between the circumstances and persecutions that characterised the wartime condition.

Filmed in an empty schoolyard quadrangle – and presented near a similarly barren courtyard space on the upper part of Cockatoo Island – Lind places her actors in positions of distance and alienation. One, representing the romantic Celan, whistles pensively as he leans against the outer wall; the other, Bachmann’s substitute, meanders and speaks rapidly into the camera and to the audience.

Lind is Norwegian with Jewish heritage and is attracted to these two poets whose circumstances position them as unsettled outsiders and exiles. All three are in search of understanding the condition of existence through the dislocations of race, culture and heritage. Each is interested in time and language.

Lind keeps the esoteric searching of these poetic enquiries intact, with a visual enacting that never seeks to explicate or resolve itself. Tension and isolation are maintained through the oddness of her location and the actions of the actors, who seem to exist in parallel space and time. Occasionally, reality imposes. A bird comes into frame and attracts the attention of the actors. Fleetingly, the existence of the other is acknowledged by the slightest of sideways glimpses. Lind holds faith with Celan’s words, ‘I am speaking into a vacuum’, to create a work that is raw and awkward, yet compelling in its pursuit of remains subjective and intangible.

Lind works with text, video, photography and performance to explore the relationships between thought, speech and representation. In Universalman (2011), she examines the distinction between public and private space and the disparity between perceived universal rights and the reality of most people. The video depicts a man seated in the cab of a truck, his expression somewhat pensive. Viewed through the windscreen, he appears to be deep in thought. All of a sudden, he looks directly into the camera and, in measured, compelling tones, spouts forth his innermost thoughts concerning basic human rights. Lind comments on universal imbalances of power and powerlessness; her choice of a ‘common’ man as the protagonist prompts the audience to consider every individual’s right to be heard.

Universalman was originally exhibited alongside Hong Nai (2011), a video work which quotes a poem by the South Korean poet Ko Un, composed during a period of incarceration for his political opposition to South Korea’s military regime. The poem is part of an ongoing series titled ‘10,000 Lives’ in which Ko Un intends to write a distinctive poem for every person he has ever met. Lind’s representation of Ko Un’s poem questions the UN Declaration of Human Rights for its generalisation of humanity and lack of recognition of individuality.

Lind completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts specialising in New Media at Chelsea College of Arts, London, in 2005, and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Oslo Academy of Fine Art in 2008. Her recent solo exhibitions include ‘A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan’, Oslo Kunstforening (2013); ‘Universalman’, Galleri Maria Veie, Oslo (2012); and ‘Fanfare’, Galleri Maria Veie, Oslo (2010). Lind has also participated in a number of group exhibitions, including ‘Wunderbaum Wanderlust Wunderkammer’, Harpefoss Hotell, Sør-Fron (2011); ‘OUTSIDE IN / INSIDE OUT’, Centre of Polish Sculpture, Orońsko (2010); and ‘The Foreign Minister will be present at the opening’, LAUTOM Contemporary, Oslo (2009).

The Austrian and Romanian poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan were briefly lovers in Paris after the Second World War, but maintained a correspondence throughout their lives until Celan’s suicide in 1970. Victoria Pihl Lind’s video work A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan (2013) takes inspiration from the many letters sent back and forth between the two and the intimate exchanges they shared. Theirs was both a passionate affair and an intellectual meeting of minds, expressed through words and thoughts across distances and time. Each experienced estrangement from their place of origin and felt pulled between the circumstances and persecutions that characterised the wartime condition.

Filmed in an empty schoolyard quadrangle – and presented near a similarly barren courtyard space on the upper part of Cockatoo Island – Lind places her actors in positions of distance and alienation. One, representing the romantic Celan, whistles pensively as he leans against the outer wall; the other, Bachmann’s substitute, meanders and speaks rapidly into the camera and to the audience.

Lind is Norwegian with Jewish heritage and is attracted to these two poets whose circumstances position them as unsettled outsiders and exiles. All three are in search of understanding the condition of existence through the dislocations of race, culture and heritage. Each is interested in time and language.

Lind keeps the esoteric searching of these poetic enquiries intact, with a visual enacting that never seeks to explicate or resolve itself. Tension and isolation are maintained through the oddness of her location and the actions of the actors, who seem to exist in parallel space and time. Occasionally, reality imposes. A bird comes into frame and attracts the attention of the actors. Fleetingly, the existence of the other is acknowledged by the slightest of sideways glimpses. Lind holds faith with Celan’s words, ‘I am speaking into a vacuum’, to create a work that is raw and awkward, yet compelling in its pursuit of remains subjective and intangible.

Lind works with text, video, photography and performance to explore the relationships between thought, speech and representation. In Universalman (2011), she examines the distinction between public and private space and the disparity between perceived universal rights and the reality of most people. The video depicts a man seated in the cab of a truck, his expression somewhat pensive. Viewed through the windscreen, he appears to be deep in thought. All of a sudden, he looks directly into the camera and, in measured, compelling tones, spouts forth his innermost thoughts concerning basic human rights. Lind comments on universal imbalances of power and powerlessness; her choice of a ‘common’ man as the protagonist prompts the audience to consider every individual’s right to be heard.

Universalman was originally exhibited alongside Hong Nai (2011), a video work which quotes a poem by the South Korean poet Ko Un, composed during a period of incarceration for his political opposition to South Korea’s military regime. The poem is part of an ongoing series titled ‘10,000 Lives’ in which Ko Un intends to write a distinctive poem for every person he has ever met. Lind’s representation of Ko Un’s poem questions the UN Declaration of Human Rights for its generalisation of humanity and lack of recognition of individuality.

Lind completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts specialising in New Media at Chelsea College of Arts, London, in 2005, and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Oslo Academy of Fine Art in 2008. Her recent solo exhibitions include ‘A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan’, Oslo Kunstforening (2013); ‘Universalman’, Galleri Maria Veie, Oslo (2012); and ‘Fanfare’, Galleri Maria Veie, Oslo (2010). Lind has also participated in a number of group exhibitions, including ‘Wunderbaum Wanderlust Wunderkammer’, Harpefoss Hotell, Sør-Fron (2011); ‘OUTSIDE IN / INSIDE OUT’, Centre of Polish Sculpture, Orońsko (2010); and ‘The Foreign Minister will be present at the opening’, LAUTOM Contemporary, Oslo (2009).

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Details

  • Title: A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan A Tone to Play – Abc According to Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan
  • Creator: Victoria Pihl Lind, Victoria Pihl Lind
  • Date: 2013, 2013
  • Provenance: Courtesy the artist, Courtesy the artist
  • Type: Audio Visual/Installation, Audio Visual/Installation
  • Rights: http://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/legal-privacy/, http://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/legal-privacy/
  • External Link: Biennale of Sydney, Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: two-channel HD video installation, 9 mins, two-channel HD video installation, 9 mins
  • Edition: 2014: 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, 2014: 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire

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