The Berlin-based artist duo Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani have been collaborating on their interventional and situationist art practice since 1995. Their investigations revolve around moving images as both impartial documents and involved narrations of our changing societies. The main protagonists of their projects are often urban spaces that bear the burden of collective memory, upon which the forces of historical transition and turmoil have been engraved. The artists’ poetic-filmic and performative investigations of these sites tackle the idea of revisiting blind spots in contemporary society through their artistic reanimation of such places.
With their work Fischer & el Sani focus on transitory spaces and vacuum situations in urban environments, collective memory and vision in various media such as film, video, installation and photography. They critically reflect the rise and fall of modernity, the intense and uncanny relationship between our contemporary society and utopian projects that have driven the evolution of our history, from the past to the future, or the anachronistic merging of both ends. Their work is a permanent pursuit of and negotiation with the transition of time. Fischer & el Sani are interested in exploring the historic traces of urban landmarks, monuments and events that embody such a transition. Several places that were once hallmarks, centers of political culture, avant-garde art, and social developments, have become more or less temporally blind spots in contemporary society. They bring them back to today`s consciousness in their altered, mystified phases: not utopian anymore, not obsolete, but rather not yet redefined. From 2007 to 2010 they were Associate Professors for Media Art at Sapporo City University, Japan. Since 2014, Nina Fischer is Professor for Experimental Film and Media Art at the University of the Arts, Berlin.
Freedom of Movement
Evoking the Olympic marathon from Rome 1960, in which the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila conquered the African continent’s first gold medal, running barefoot and becoming a sporting legend and a symbol of the Africa that was freeing itself of colonialism, Fischer & el Sani have recontextualised amidst Rome’s rationalist architecture, a new race involving refugees and immigrants staking a claim to their freedom of movement, also understood as the possibility of being welcomed in another country.
Film, HD, colour, stereo, 22′, 2014
In Dynamis Fischer & el Sani asked people whom they meet casually in the city of Thessaloniki to take part in a patience exercise, and in this way develop a collective cultural performance. A social balancing act, between standing up and collapsing. A constant rise and fall, figuratively speaking.
L'Avventura senza fine
Series of 8 b/w panorama photographs on Alu Dibond, 153 x 64 cm, framed
The uninhabited aeolian island Lisca Bianca, was the key location of Michelangelo Antonioni’s movie „L‘Avventura“ in 1960. A story about a young woman, that disappears from this island with no explanation. We pasted posters of that missing character onto the island and took panorama photos on location. A search for a missing, fictive character in a real place.
Il luogo di morte di Pasolini
Series of 11 colour photographs on Alu Dibond, 75 x 50 cm, framed
Il luogo di morte di Pier Paolo Pasolini is a series of photographs which would function as a flip book if the story behind the images were known, if the subtext of the subtitles were to make the transition fluid. Or if the number of photographs were much larger and thus the continuum of the photographic narrative were more present from the outset. In its current form – 11 colour photographs with no subtitles – it is initially the gaps that are present. At first glance, the first and last motifs have nothing in common; no thread connects them. Consequently the viewer is encouraged to fill in the gaps with his imagination to piece the individual images together. (Krystian Woznicki)