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"THE EXPERIMENT 4: Florence Lazar, Apichatpong Weerasethakul - x-lands / extended"
2001-05-30 until 2001-07-01
Vienna Secession, Association of Visual Artists
Vienna, , AT

The two-part exhibition x-lands / extended aims to address questions of the construction of identity on the premises of cultural, political and social changes. The artistic positions shown in the framework of the exhibition deal with various perspectives of the constitution of identity within different geographical/cultural contexts. Here, moments of the attribution of outside are contrasted or linked with the view from inside.

The presentation from 30 May to 14 June 2001 of the artist Florence Lazar, who lives in Paris, comprises three video works and selected (portrait) photographs. Various perspectives and personal statements regarding political events and social changes in former Yugoslavia are presented through the different works.

Because of family ties to Serbia, Florence Lazar began reflecting on the thematic complex of identities in 1998. Although she had worked until that point with the medium of portrait photography, in conjunction with a research journey to former Yugoslavia, she gave more precedence to video. Through a clear recourse to the image discourses of genre painting on the one hand and documentary film on the other, Florence Lazar's works aim to topicalize concrete socio-political reality within the virtually classical forms of articulation in art.

Video and sound material recorded in Serbia in 1998/99 forms the basis for the works Les Paysans / The Farmers (1999/2000) and Si je suis pas devenu fou, je dois etre anormal / If I haven't gone crazy, then I must be abnormal (1999/2000). The two works represent perspectives and positions of different social classes and life circumstances in relation to the political history of the country. Confrontations (1999), on the other hand, was created in Paris. Shot in private rooms, the video shows an argument, in which two generations of the Lazar family argue about the necessity and the possibilities of action, the historical context of the war in Kosovo and the (presumed) processes of change and democratization in Serbia.

Unlike the two videos made in Serbia, Confrontations shows a view of political developments from the outside. Here it becomes clear that the difference between the positions is essentially determined by the conditions of socialization, because Lazar's parents are Serbian and Hungarian Jewish migrants, where as the children have grown up in France.

The presentation of the second part of the exhibition from 15 June to 31 June 2001 consists of two video works by the Thai artist and documentary filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Even in its ironic title, his work Thirdworld (1998) refers to the view that the west has of Thailand and other cultures and countries that are considered exotic. Presented in purposely unprofessional picture quality, the film depicts a concrete description of a landscape, the idyllic island of Panyi in the south of Thailand, which is to be taken both realistically and yet also metaphorically at the same time. The actual living conditions on the island are discussed in the form of conversations in the soundtrack.

Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves (1995) is an experimental documentary film, in which different individual biographies are briefly addressed in a fragmentary way. The red thread and thus the narrative link between the different story lines and the persons involved in them is the program of a radio station that mostly broadcasts radio soaps, an extremely popular genre of contemporary audio culture in Thailand.

Florence Lazar,
Les Paysans / Die Bauern / The Farmers, 1999
(VHS, 25 min.)

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