Mar. 26, 2019
The IBB Videospace at Berlinische Galerie offers a monthly rotation of video works by contemporary artists through their ‘12×12’ series. When visiting the museum’s permanent collection or temporary exhibitions, it’s always a bonus to enter the darkened cinema and discover a new body of work by emerging video artists. This was particularly the case with Gudrun Krebitz’s current screening, which offered a visual language that is refreshingly hard to put into words.
Krebitz’s voiced-over animations bring her raw and childlike pencil drawings to life, opening up a disturbing world that crosses between dream and memory. In her oldest film I know you (2009), a child’s shaky voice narrates half-lucid scenes and experiences in eerie fragmented sentences, while a woman’s naked body grows and shrinks, moving in similarly fragmented ways. An ominous “dark thing”—perhaps representing anxiety or depression— hovers over the character, threatening to envelop her in a kind of social paralysis.
Her later films are comprised of similar visual poems, with text and drawings slightly mismatched with what is spoken aloud. In Achill (2012), a more realistic human figure—her anatomy and appearance more fleshed out—joins Krebitz’s simpler pencil drawings to enhance the narrative. The woman’s makeup is overdone, like an actress from a German Expressionist film, and her movements are out of sync, as she walks down the recognizable runway of Tempelhofer Feld. The pace and aesthetic of Krebitz’s animated short films is reminiscent of horror movies, where movements and reactions occur almost imperceptibly off-tempo.
In her latest film, The Magical Dimension (2018), Krebitz muses on the process of entering another dimension, whether through séance, trance or astral projection. She layers her drawings—again, of a woman but this time in white pencil—atop footage of everyday scenes from sites of natural beauty or religious import. “You can always be in two places at once,” the narrator suggests, launching us into a heady realm of possibility beyond our daily lived experiences. The female figure in Krebitz’s animations is often a projection of herself, and the storylines often follow her very personal journey of self-doubt and self-empowerment.
Krebitz is an Austrian artist who studied animation at the Konrad Wolf film school in Babelsberg, Potsdam as well as the Royal College of Art in London. She is now based between Berlin and London.