Gustav Deutsch & Hanna Schimek

229 digital images and loop, 30’

EYE Film Institute Netherland, Amsterdam, 27.Mai – 10.Juni 2014

The Visions of Reality – Associative Image was researched, selected and arranged as part of the film and exhibition project Shirley – Visions of Reality.

Shirley – Visions of Reality deals with the theme of staging of reality, and of replication and reconstruction in art, taking the work of American artist Edward Hopper as example.

Hopper (1882-1967) worked as an illustrator before starting his career as a painter. He was very much influenced by film, especially by film noir, a genre that has its sources in German expressionist filmmaking and hard-boiled crime literature from the US. It is characterised by low-key lighting, urban settings, and alienated, lonesome protagonists.

There are also other sources and influences from the history of art and science, as well as from popular American culture, that can be detected in Hopper’s work such as trompe-l’oeil paintings of the Renaissance, dioramas and panoramas of the 19th century, symbolic and metaphoric objects in the works of the Surrealists, and commercial advertising in American print media.

Visions of Reality – Associative Image Atlas links a selection of examples from all of these different sources in four thematic groups. It aims to create new meaning through contextualization. Tracing an arc that starts with the Renaissance and continues to modern art, it runs from Hopper’s predecessors and contemporaries to his successors up through to today.

Assembled associatively, in reference to the (unfinished) image atlas by Aby Warburg (German art historian and cultural theorist, 1866-1929), it shows the influences and connections between painting, film, architecture, popular culture, illustration and advertising, with regard to the work of Edward Hopper, and to the film Shirley.

It links and contrasts a Reader’s Digest illustration with a film noir film still, a pop-art sculpture with a General Motors advert, and a stuffed grizzly bear with a Chinese copy of the Mona Lisa. Marilyn Monroe reads Ulysses, Gypsy Rose Lee writes a story, John Wayne drinks a beer, Shirley embraces Stephen, Marlene Dietrich smokes a cigarette and Rita Hayworth knits at home.