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Press Release 3



Werkleitz Biennale from September 3rd until 6th 1998
Festival for Art and Media in Tornitz/Werkleitz near Magdeburg


Constructing Fiction and Reality - Today and Yesterday:

With the title
subfiction the Werkleitz Biennale assesses contemporary issues in art and the so-called new media. The four day festival concentrates on the screening of film and video works, exhibitions and discussions which assess the fragmentation of collective forms of fictions via individual and subversive connotations of the real. In parallel the presentation of visual art pieces, performances, film and video screenings and Internet projects will complement the program. As a foil against one another, image media vs media imagery will be considered in their own (inherently filmic) light. As such the title subfiction will give way to a wide spectrum of experimental attempts within the environment of artistic imagery which consciensciously cross the traditional media based boundaries. It is within this dialectic of various intermingled networks that both the similarities as well as the differences within contemporary media begin to appear. This can lead to a wide range of societal constructions and personal fictions which through art can be both magnified and uncovered.

Guest curators invited by the Werkleitz Gesellschaft to compile the programs have thus chosen a particularly differentiated selection of works to reflect these dichotomies. The festival participant should be able to reconstruct individual fictive narratives gathered from among the varied and subjective perspectives projected by still or moving imagery, or even that of the exhibited static objects. A sense of artistic tension is intended in these proposed juxtapositions, in which the relationship between the works of known ?masters" will be presented alongside that of an up and coming generation of new artists.

In the Internet arena the public debate concerning the shifting of realities, fictions and virtuality is reaching titanic dimensions. In recent years the possibilities presented by this new medium of expression have been realised as a laboratory of new artistic experimentation. In the meantime the average computer and modem user has taken to the perceived democratic nature of the Internet in private, economic and even artistic spheres as a naturally ocurring given.
Presented will be one of Net-Art's pilot projects "" by Dirk Paesmans and Joan Heemskerk (both of Barcelona) which has been running since 1994 and was featured at documenta X. By launching numerous on-line discussion and exhibition forums Heath Bunting (London), himself a major force behind the documenta X net presence, is an acclaimed pioneer of the Internet. At the Werkleitz Biennale he will be presenting his 1997 work "A World Wide Watch - Closed Circuit Television". Using live source surveillance camera feeds Bunting questions the nature of broadcast simultaneity and a real time notion of reality and fiction. The title of Swiss artist Barbara Strebel's 1997 piece "Virus X" speaks for itself in its implication of infected network structures.

Long before the discussion of a media influenced virtuality began performance artists have posed the question of live experience in the act of artistic expression. International performers are still vigorously investigating the artistic modality of the directly experiential action piece. Using the Saale River ferry a a pendular stage Matthias Jackisch (Dresden) and Elvira Santamaria (Mexico City) will perform: "wolf, goat, cabbage or bon appetit / lobo, cabra, col o Ábuen provecho!" throughout the day. Next to German and Dutch performers invited Asian artists such as Vasan Sitthiket of Bankgok and Singapor's Lee Wen will be performing, while Australian born Singapor artist Ray Langenbach will lecture on "the End of the Performance".

The Werkleitz Biennale will challenge the oft expounded notion that Art is Dead! by exhibiting calculated "great" works of visual art. Those arriving at the legendary Calbe-Ost train station will be greeted by the historically significant mythology of ?Nouveaux R?alisme". The 81 year old Milanese artist Mimmo Rotella offers a "Holiday on Ice" (1989) as a larger-than-life consumer mirage deconstructing the imagery of an endless cache of everyday notions. In the station's main hall a work by Berlin painter Adib Fricke, founder of the "Word Company", waits to be discovered. Further on, Gent's Wim Delvoye will display his 1997 bird house object "Nestkastjes" while continuing his tantalising work with two pigs nearby in the yard of the local community centre. And finally Heidrun Gartenschläger (Mühltal) will attempt to leave the traces of Hollywood inspired anecdotes behind in the Tornitz church, in which seemingly moving images of the artist herself will appear in an allusion back to classic black and white films.

The Film/Video section will also delve into the Hollywood's industry of illusion. Thomas Korschil of Vienna will present Martin Arnold's new film "Alone, Life Wastes Andy Hardy" (1998) in which, as a proponent of the "Found Footage Film", scenes ripped out of Hollywood flics reveal brutally new levels of scenographic meaning. "Hollywood" is also one of Kassel curator Gerhard Wissner's program themes: Accompanied by numerous film clips, the immateriality of the mundane reality inherent in the world of computers will be discussed in Tilman Baumg?rtel's lecture "You've Just Been Erased". The film ?Eraser" will follow up as a specific example of the topic covered by the lecture. The second program block ?Real Fiction" will contrast the clips of young film makers with one another, many of the works being based on the "Inner City Actions" of 1997. A number of the "A-clip" works shown simultaneously throughout the Werkleitz Biennale will be premieres.


subfiction is funded by the Culture Ministry of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (Government Directorate Halle); the Stiftung Kulturfonds, Berlin; the Lotto-Toto GmbH Sachsen-Anhalt and the Energieversorgung Magdeburg. We are also grateful for the support of the communities of Barby and Tornitz/Werkleitz.

For further information please contact our press department:

(inter)national press: Elke Grützmacher, fone + fax: 0561 / 773904,

regional press: Gero Hirschelmann, Tel.: 0345 / 5210421 oder 0177 / 7706084
Fax: 0345 / 3889516, e-mail:

or contact our festival manager: Peter Zorn ( and Uwe Büchler (
phone: +49.39298 / 6750
fax: +49.39298 / 675-55

Reprint free. A specimen copy will be appreciated.