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Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Gernot Wieland. Thievery and Songs. 16:9, 22’40” video, sound, colour, 2016
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In Thievery and Songs Wieland has made an exceptionally beautiful, tragicomic and humorous work that is framed by the story of a dancer, Hilde Holger, who in 1938 had to flee from Austria into exile in Bombay because she was Jewish. This collage of moving images is composed of Super 8 film, video, watercolours, drawings, claymation, and Wieland’s father’s photographs. Each frame carries the distinctive atmosphere of its medium. The work includes stories of animals and psychotherapists; memories of Wieland’s Catholic education; the religious-like indoctrination of the Viennese actionists in Austrian culture; a transformation into a snail, which, in the turns of its narrative, bears a relationship to landscapes; the notion of memory and hierarchy; and a therapeutic session.

“We filmed dance movements in a government building, which was important to me. You can tell it is a government building, where you apply for a new passport, you can get married, there is a tax office – the official life, so to speak. I wanted that setting as a ‘quote’ for Austria’s past, since there were so many people who were responsible, who decided”, Wieland explains.

Text by Zasha Colah, 2016