Was man nicht sieht


2016, 00:41:57, 1080i50, color, sound, W014 01

For the seven-part series of works Point of View from 2015 and 2016, Clemens von Wedemeyer worked on the cinematic legacy of his grandfather: Captain Freiherr Harald von Vietinghoff-Riesch was an amateur filmmaker, who captured scenes behind the front line in the Second World War. In the 16mm films with a total length of 180 minutes, soldiers can be seen bathing naked, officers proudly posing with their horses and the supposedly correct treatment of prisoners of war. Apart from occasional depictions of destroyed cities also animal carcasses on the roadside were captured. However, the extent of brutality of this war does not become visible. The shots were not intended as propaganda material serving National Socialism, but for screening them to friends and family. The footage, which for a long time had been stored in the family home and handed over to the Federal Archives in 1981, was scientifically reviewed by Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film (IWF) in Göttingen in the 1990s. As a video artist and grandson of the creator, Clemens von Wedemeyer examines the footage, dissects and reassembles it. He explores the subjective, eclectic view of the camera and asks questions about objectivity and falsification. With methods of film analysis, such as slow motion, voice-over or montage, von Wedemeyer comments and contextualizes the images. Structured in eight chapters, Was man nicht sieht shows a conversation between the artist, the director of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein Marius Babias and the cultural theorist Klaus Theweleit. While the interlocutors are viewing sequences of the original footage selected by the artist, they complement what they see – corresponding to the title of the work – on a spoken level: they analyze, against the background of the suggestive power of these images, topics such as war tourism, dealing with prisoners of war or the self-display of the officers. In this work, von Wedemeyer makes use of the classic tools of documentary film, such as voice-over or the addition of complementary photographic material. This approach, in the sense of artistic research, deliberately blurs the boundaries between artistic and documentary work.