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First Museum-Based Overview of the Work of Ana Torfs at K21 in Dusseldorf
Ana Torfs, The Intruder, 2004, Installation view, Roomade, Brüssel, 2004, Installation mit Diaprojektion auf schwarzem Untergrund, synchronisierte Audiofassung, Dimensionen variabel, Courtesy of the artist, © Ana Torfs, 2009.
DUSSELDORF.- Representation and visualisation, reality and fiction form the cornerstones of Ana Torfs’ installations which consist of projected images (usually black and white slides) and texts. In precisely choreographed audiovisual constellations Torfs brings to life literary, historical and political material. In these projects the artist works with actors who embody their roles in a demonstratively matter-of-fact and functional way. Documents on Joan d’Arc, a famous one act play by the symbolist poet Maurice Maeterlinck but also testimonies from Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht’s murder trial serve as starting points for room-filling installations such as “Du mentir-faux” (About Lying Falsehood), 2000, “The Intruder”, 2004, or “Anatomy”, 2006.

Ana Torfs has been practising and developing her method of subtly dissecting and superimposing places, people, voices and atmospheres for over fifteen years. In doing so, she draws from the repertoire of dramatic, photographic and cinematic techniques.

Apart from a selection of earlier works, the recently completed slide installation “Displacement” (2009) will be shown for the first time at K21. This work came about with the support of the Baltic Art Centre, Visby. The Swedish island of Gotland, which Ana Torfs got to know during a production-in-residence in 2007, inspired her to create a remake of Roberto Rossellini’s “Viaggio in Italia”/“Journey to Italy” (1954), a classic Italian film on the threshold between neorealismo and nouvelle vague. Alternating black and white photographs of a both magical and sparse insular landscape, which is clearly defined by its military function during the Cold War, are projected into the room. These images are accompanied by dialogues between two people who become increasingly estranged during the course of a journey. In Ana Torfs’ work the spoken words and the static pictures blend in order to create an imaginary realm beyond cinema. Personal experiences and global dimensions merge with one another.

This also comes across in the new photographic series “Family Plot”. Portraits of Carl Linnaeus and other representatives of early scientific botany refer to the practice of naming of exotic plant families in which foreign species were appropriated in an imperialistic way.

The spatial transfer of places and stories is a basic aspect of Ana Torfs’ artistic approach. Consequently, the settings in which her works are shown and
experienced by her audience are of great importance. Ana Torfs cooperated with the Belgian architect Kris Kimpe in order to design a special kind of architecture for the presentation of her works at K21.

In addition to the exhibition, Ana Torfs’ 35mm film “Zyklus von Kleinigkeiten (Cycle of Trifles)” (b/w, 1998, 86’) will be showing in cinema. The film is based on Beethoven’s so-called conversation books which give an insight into the deaf composer’s day-today life.

Dusseldorf | Ana Torfs | K21 |


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