The All-Around Reduced Personality (aka Redupers) / The Wall
November 9, 1989 is recognized as the day the Berlin Wall officially fell. Throughout the Cold War, the Wall signified the opposition between Western popular democracy and Eastern totalitarianism. Yet the story was more complex; the triumph of neoliberalism and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet empire are not as easily, nor as neatly articulated 25 years later. Even so, the Wall remains a powerful spectre—a blank canvas on which history is continually reimagined. This program presents two works from an era when the Berlin Wall’s shadow loomed large and artists were most eager to confront its presence.
The All-Around Reduced Personality (aka Redupers)
dir. Helke Sander, West Germany, 1977, 16mm, b/w, German w/ English Subtitles, 98 min.
A divided city becomes the subject matter for a struggling photojournalist and single mother, played by Sander herself. Reduper brilliantly transposes the interior emotional landscape of the main character onto the external, political landscape of Berlin. The wall, a physical and psychological barrier, emerges as a powerful symbol for the everyday struggles to define one's self, as both an independent woman and a citizen of society at large.
Print courtesy of Goethe-Institut Boston.
dir. Gordon Matta-Clark, US, 1976-2007, 16mm transferred to video, 15 min.
This newly assembled work is a rare document of a 1976 Matta-Clark performance in Berlin. The piece begins with the following statement: "In 1976, as part of the Akademie der Kunst and Berliner Festwochen exhibition 'Soho in Berlin,' Gordon Matta-Clark went to Germany with the intention of blowing up a section of the Berlin Wall. Dissuaded by friends from such a suicidal action, the result was the following performance." The film records Matta-Clark as he stencils 'Made in America' on the Wall, affixes commercial advertisements over graffiti, and has a run-in with the police. A remarkable record of a little-known Matta-Clark performance, this work is also a historical time capsule of a political and physical landscape that no longer exists.