This summer the first large exhibition by Michel Auder in Switzerland opened in the Kunsthalle Basel
and presents a selection of video-installations, which are made between 1969 and 2013. The artist, born 1945 in Soissons (FR) has lived since 1970 in New York. Entitled Stories, Myths, Ironies, and Other Songs: Conceived, Directed, Edited, and Produced by M. Auder, the exhibition aims at presenting the entire span of Auders rich oeuvre, revisiting the variety of genres and formats he explored and introducing Michel Auder in all diverse roles he continues to play as the cameraman, director, editor and producer of his own film and video works.
At the age of 18, well-read in contemporary literature, strongly influenced by the innovative editing techniques and non-linear narrative structures developed in films of the French Nouvelle Vague, familiar with experimental cut-up techniques in poetry, employed by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin in the 1950s, Auder started to make photographs and films in France. He lived in Paris through 1968, and in 1969 he met Viva, one of Andy Warhols Superstars. They married and settled in New York in 1970. There, through the avant-garde filmmakers couple, Steina and Woody Vasulka, he got familiar with the Sony Portapak video equipment that Vasulkas had been using since 1965. In these early years of video technology, Auders works at that time, including the feature-length production Cleopatra (1970), often involved participation of the frequenters of Andy Warhols Factory, who improvised various acts and casually unraveled their egos before Auders camera.
Auders work, which could be described as a form of writing with images, music, words and sounds, makes extensive use of the huge archive of video and sound that he gathered during over forty years. In his videos, the fragments of early recordings would be often mixed with freshly registered material; the dating of the work is determined by the year when the video was edited sometimes decades after the material was recorded.
For Jonas Mekas, filmmaker himself, friend of Michel Auder and founder of the legendary Anthology Film Archivs in New York Auder is a poet:
A poet of moods, faces, situations, brief encounters, tragic moments of our miserable civiliza-tion, the suffering. And yes, also human vanity, ridiculousness. Cities, people, animals, cul-ture, nature everything is reflected in Auders continuous video diaries that he has been keeping for over 20 years. [
][the] video camera was always there, always going, a part of the house, a part of his life, eyes, hands. It still is. A most magnificent love affair no, not an affair: a lifes obsession.
--Jonas Mekas, A Personal Note on the Work of Michel Auder, May, 1991, in: Michel Auder, Selected Video Works 1970-1991, Anthology Film Archives, New York.