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Pioneering German video artist Marcel Odenbach

Media Release
6 August 2004

Pioneering German video artist Marcel Odenbach features at Govett-Brewster
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is pleased to present a major survey show of leading German contemporary artist Marcel Odenbach.

MARCEL ODENBACH: installations 2000-2003 > videos 1978-1995, opening 21 August, brings together four recent video installations and two programmes of video works spanning two decades, by one of the foremost European pioneers of video art.

While the use of video as an art medium dates back to the 1960’s, it is only in the last decade that video has become a mainstream feature of contemporary art practice. For three decades Marcel Odenbach has been a leading innovator in the medium. As a result Odenbach has been the recipient of recent major museum surveys in New York, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, while his extensive record of exhibitions includes participation in the last Istanbul and Sao Paulo Biennales.

“Marcel Odenbach has remained at the forefront of new developments since he produced his earliest video works in the mid-1970’s,” said curator of the exhibition and Gallery Director Gregory Burke. “His experiments in the areas of narrative, production techniques and multiple channel projection have established the ground for contemporary video practice,” he said.

From the outset Odenbach’s work has addressed contemporary social and political issues through the lens of recent history. Lying just below the surface of all of his work is an awareness of Germany’s own turbulent history in the 20th century. His starting point is his own relation to society as a native German.
From this base he meditates on issues of the moment that have both personal and global significance.

His installation It happened on a Thursday 2002 is a good example. It features footage of the World Trade Centre massacre but its main focus is the daily routine of people at the site of an act of terrorism that occurred near where he lives in Germany.

“Odenbach’s ability to probe the relationship between personal and political identity establishes intimate emotional connections with the viewer. It is this quality that makes his work so resonant,” said Gregory Burke.

Film buffs will also be engaged by Odenbach’s reference to classic cinema. It happened on a Thursday pays homage to Jean-Luc Godard and his 1967 masterpiece Weekend while the installation Too beautiful to be true 2000, tips a hat to Frederico Fellini and his film City of Women 1981.

Marcel Odenbach will be in New Zealand to install his exhibition and will talk about his work at the Auckland Art Gallery on Tuesday 17 August, at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery on Tuesday 24 August and at the New Zealand Film Archive on Thursday 26 August in association with the Goethe Institut, Wellington.

“This is a major opportunity to hear one of the founders of artists’ video and one of Europe’s most respected contemporary artists talk about his work,” said Mr Burke.

Marcel Odenbach will also participate in the Gallery’s Winter Forum – The politics of curating on Sunday 22 August at 12.30pm to mark the opening of the exhibition.

Including Odenbach along with Gregory Burke (Chair), Ihor Holubizky (writer/curator Australia and Canada), Niklas Östholm (Curator, International Artist’s Studio Programme in Sweden, Stockholm) and Dr. Britta Schmitz (Chief Curator, Hamburger Bahnhof, National Galerie, Berlin) the panel will discuss the politics of curating reflecting different national positions and topical experiences.

A comprehensive 32-page catalogue, featuring new writing and images from the exhibition will be available from the Gallery’s Art and Design Shop.

MARCEL ODENBACH: installations 2000-2003 > videos 1978-1995 is supported by the Goethe Institut, Wellington.

12.00pm Tuesday 17 August 2004
Auckland Art Gallery
New Plymouth
12.30pm Sunday 22 August 2004
Participant in WINTER FORUM: The politics of curating
6.00pm Tuesday 24 August 2004
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
6.00pm Thursday 26 August 2004
New Zealand Film Archive

Tuesday 17 August
New Plymouth
Wednesday 18 August midday – Tuesday 24 August inclusive
Thursday 26 August


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