This month ikono is proud to present three films by German video artist Birthe Blauth. Her conceptual work looks at the individual and explores the contingent relationship between the single and the space. Blauth’s art is extremely meditative and limpid, but close scrutiny lets the viewer grasp the true complexity of its message. Her visual work helps to vary the perception of the difference between fiction and reality, questioning the border between the two. Her art expands and diversifies amongst installation, video, sound, text and performances.
Birthe Blauth, who was born in Munich, owns a M.A. and doctorate in Chinese Studies, Ethnology and European Art History at Ludwig-Maximilians-University. Her specialist areas are iconography, mythology, religious ethnology. Blauth has been internationally shown and her work has been honoured by the Haus der Kunst award in Munich as well as the support of the Prinzregent Luitpold Stiftung, the Region of Upper Bavaria and the City of Munich. The artist currently lives and works in Munich and New York.
Birthe Blauth on ikonoTV:
Guarded Parking Marrakesh, 2003
In this film the action is imperceptible, yet the change unmistakable. During the 7 minutes course of the video 43 people and objects disappear – unnoticed. The video is in the collection of the Artmuseum Bonn.
Merging a mountain landscape of Munich artist Sonja Weber with excerpts of her own video artworks Poppyfield (2003) and La Strada (2005), this video of Birthe Blauth represents a fantastic and playful history of a mountain landscape with quotations from the history of art. Cloaked in the darkness of Adam Elsheimer’s night scene Escape to Egypt (1609), the mountain emerges at the dawn of a bright winter’s day. When evening sets in, its dramatic glow gradually turns into a sea of bubbling red lava. From this emerges the scene of Albrecht Altdorfer’s Battle of Alexander (1528-1529), which slowly transforms into a carpet of bright red poppies. When a yellow sandstorm blows up, bringing to mind the atmosphere of a Mark Rothko work. The storm subsides to reveal a highway leading into the mountains.
The video explores the transient and the vain efforts of human beings to explore and push beyond their limits. Somebody is exploring an invisible barrier by touching it with his fingers. He leaves more and more fingerprints in the process. The longer the person tries to establish the nature of their confines, the more enclosed they become. Finally, the surface is completely covered in fingerprints and the hands can no longer be seen.
This work can be seen as an allegory of our lives. It also represents our efforts to escape our confines. Efforts that are doomed to failure.