Hans Richter – Der Absolute Film

extended to the 12 June 2005!

5 March – 8 May 2005
Opening: Friday, 4 March 2005, 7.30 p.m.

Welcoming speech: Waltraut Steimke, executive director
Introduction: Susanne Pfeffer, artistic director

"Film will be the creative field of the artist generation of tomorrow." Hans Richter (1926)

Between the years 1918 and 1921, Hans Richter had his viewers walk along his painted pictorial scrolls in an attempt to translate the paintings' forms and colours into movement. It was thus that he discovered the film strip as an ideal medium for producing movement in an "image". In 1921, in collaboration with Viking Eggeling, Richter produced the first abstract film, Rhythmus 21. As Jonas Mekas once said, in that film Richter had already so completely and perfectly exhausted abstract filmic elements that there was nothing left for anyone else to do in that field. In his Filmstudie of 1926 Richter blended abstract forms and objects into dream-like motifs which finally, in Vormittagsspuk (1928) began to take on a grotesque life of their own. That film deals with the revolt of people and objects against the everyday rituals that control them. Richter's interest in the surreal can also be found in the seven episodes of Dreams that money can buy. This work was produced in 1947 while he was in exile in America and for it, Richter was able to engage his friends Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger and Man Ray, avant-garde artists who had gathered under the paradigm of the dream in order to sound a final chord in the Dadaist-surrealist movement.

The exhibition Der absolute Film will focus on Hans Richter's early films of the 1920s and on his Dreams that money can buy, 1947, providing insight into the filmic oeuvre of an avant-garde artist who achieved a unique combination of pictorial forms and cinematographic movement.

Hans Richter (1888-1976) became a member of the Dada group in Zürich in 1916. He emigrated in 1933 via Holland, France and Switzerland to the USA, where he became director of the film institute at the City College New York in 1942.


6 April 2005, 7.30 p.m. Gibt es einen Konstruktivistischen Film? Lecture by Justin Hoffmann, director of the Kunstverein Wolfsburg
1 May 2005, 5 p.m. Florian Pumhösl bewundert Hans Richter Lecture: Florian Pumhösl