“In the fields of fine arts and analogue film, Antoinette Zwirchmayr’s oeuvre is currently among the most exciting to be found in innovative and experimental cinema,” the Diagonale festival stated. Antoinette Zwirchmayr (1989) lives and works in Vienna, where she studied at the Friedl Kubelka school. Her films are distinguished by the carefully considered precision of their construction, the meditative stillness of their rhythms and above all by their preoccupation with bodies, objects, and landscapes, which are rendered with an extraordinary degree of tactility. Zwirchmayr demonstrates an abiding interest in juxtaposing strikingly different kinds of substances – skin and stone, fire and ice, plant and textile – and an extraordinary ability to convey the emotional, mental and physical frisson that results.
Antoinette Zwirchmayr uses celluloid exclusively and will bring her own 16mm copies of the films.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker by Chloë Delanghe and Sofie Crabbé who coordinate the Mixed Media atelier at LUCA School of Arts Gent.
AT • 2016 • 4' • colour • 16mm
In Venus Delta, a sequence of dreamlike scenes unfolds quietly. Set in an otherworldly layered landscape of rock formations by a pristine mountain spring, an atmosphere of eerie femininity pervades the images. Round, golden objects of unknown origin lie scattered about mysteriously. Somehow, they seem connected to or springing from a nearly motionless young woman whose face is hidden behind a voluptuous, almost menacingly grand, mass of hair. A surreal quality infests these visually sumptuous quasi-still lifes, accentuating barely noticeable tensions between human form and nature, body and object, between male and female forces in minute details. The title is a sly play on Delta of Venus, the title of Anaïs Nin’s volume of erotica. (Julia Dossi)
The Seismic Form
AT • 2020 • 15' • colour • 16mm
A terrain of wet pebbles glitters and undulates. Molten lava spurts. Grooves in white, smooth rock recall the material’s own mutability. The world of The Seismic Form is one of tactile, textured surfaces, brilliantly responsive to light. As solid as these planes and contours may seem in a moment, they are not stable – nor, despite our necessary delusions of permanence and depth, were they ever. Stillness masks volatility and the collapse that is always already present as imminent possibility. The musings of the French post-structuralist Jean Baudrillard on the kind of catastrophe that buried Pompeii are read from in voice-over. (Carmen Gray)
AT • 2020 • 6' • colour • 16mm
Oceano Mare approaches sensations of an ocean we don’t see. Seemingly stranded, a female figure lies amid a rocky, dried-up riverbed, now entwined in the branches of the sparse vegetation, now lying on the delicate fissures of the parched ground. At first, the motif of polka dots appears in a stylized ornamentation that recalls Yayoi Kusama, adorning the naked skin and is then transferred to the landscape, culminating in the glints reflected on the gentle swells on the water’s surface. “The sea is an idea. Or better, a foray of the imagination,” as we read in Alessandro Baricco’s eponymous novel. (Naoko Kaltschmidt)
The Pimp and his Trophies
AT • 2014-2015 • 21' • colour • 35mm
The Pimp and his Trophies is the first film in Zwirchmayr’s What I Remember trilogy of personal essay films that explore the remarkable, troubled history of her own family. In this triptych, she starts from memories of her grandfather, one of Salzburg’s most infamous pimps, and her father, a young bank robber who fled to Brazil. Secret audio recordings by her grandmother, footage of her grandfather, architectural blueprints and photographs of the brothel and its many mirrors, her father’s thoughts as well as her own childhood memories are insufficient pieces of this story that’s being recounted by an anonymous narrator. The film is centered on a gap. Black inserts separate the exquisite images.
At the Edge of the Curtain
AT • 2022 • 10' • colour • 16mm
A place essentially bound up with dismal memories and the smell of old leather and sweat becomes a stage for enraptured performances. The setting and habitat of At the Edge of the Curtain is a gymnasium. Its occupants: three women whose relationships and states of desire are as multiple and ambivalent as their selves are amorphous and fragmented. Subjectivities circulate, but their bodies persist in stasis.