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March: Video Space

Studio, Geta Brătescu.

Studio, Geta Brătescu.

Centaur, Tamas St.Auby.

Centaur, Tamas St.Auby.

Studio, Geta Brătescu.
Centaur, Tamas St.Auby.

Admission free / Running throughout normal opening hours


Xposeptember presents a selection of films from the Image at Work exhibition project 2010 - 2011, shown at Index and the Romanian Cultural Institute and from the accompanying film screening series at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.


Image at Work focused on the notion of work and regarded it as an activity that structures and transforms the world around us, sets boundaries and defines the individual and society. Setting out from a conception of work as a fundamental human activity, the way in which we handle given conditions, the project explored various aspects of work.


The understanding of work as a structuring activity is central in Studio (1978) by Geta Brătescu. Brătescu’s film shows the artist in her studio where she performs in front of the camera. The film starts with the camera panning over the studio, its objects and the sleeping artist, with equal interest. The artist and her studio become one in a series of close-ups showing artworks, tools and materials as well as the artist’s body. When the artist stands up she measures and delimits a surface. With her height as a starting point she transforms a white surface in her studio into something that is both a charcoal drawing and a stage. From the measurements of her body she defines the world around her. In Geta Brătescu’s film the studio appears as an extended body – the artist uses her body as a tool for defining and appropriating space.


Training Analysis of Toilet-Soap Pressing (1938) is an industrial film, “designed for organisational functionality rather than for expression or social analysis”, as Patrick Vonderau remarked in his introduction to the screening programme he curated. Nevertheless, this film, like many other industrial films, contains aspects of both expression and analysis, which are wider than indicated by the title. The defined and controlled body is exposed in full view.


One Victim and Many Culprits (1983) also belongs to the group of industrial films, but in contrast to Training Analysis of Toilet-Soap Pressing, it has a clear authorship. Employing his unique cinematic language, director Ovidiu Bose Pastina transcends the restrictions of a traditional health-and-safety film and manages to present a critique of the working conditions depicted in the film, as well as provide the protagonists, the factory workers, with a real presence, despite the fact that he aims for depicting “distance and alienation, not intimacy”, as he points out in the interview with curator Adina Bradeanu presented in the Image at Work publication.


The Image at Work exhibition aimed to view the meaning-creating processes, which build contexts and critical potential within an artistic work, as a kind of the image’s own work, suggesting a broader span of perspectives and considering art as a process that constitutes meaning. This aspect is at the core of Centaur (1973-75) by Tamas St.Auby, which employs the medium of film to highlight discrepancies in society and formulate a political critique, not only through the work’s topic but through its aesthetics. By deconstructing and separating the elements of the film, new meaning is extracted, and by separating sound and image, the artist accentuates the alienation of the characters’ lives. The title of the film refers to the division that is the life condition of the mythical animal the centaur – half horse, half human being – and of film, which also operates with a division between sound and image. By charging the soundtrack with a philosophical and political dialogue, Tamas St.Auby steers our attention towards a human potential that was not cared for in socialist society.


Curated by Helena Holmberg.

What is Video Space?

A changing monthly programme of films in our first floor Video Space.


Video Space homepage



This selection of films was previously screened as part of an E-Flux film and video programme at their storefront space in New York between January and May 2011.