10.02.2022 – 24.02.2022
at Schweizer5, Frankfurt am Main
The first installation presentation of the video work "Droopy Rose", 2021, 12.30’, 4K video, German spoken, English subtitles.
Curatorial support by Vivien Kämpf
With friendly support by Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt
Hosted at the listed premises of Schweizer5, Droopy Rose presents the first installation-based display of Theresa Büchner’s short film by the same name. Spread across three rooms, the video work is presented on several free-standing screens and a large-format canvas that are set up with a time delay, and some of which are only audible through headphones. Facilitating an entirely individual and self-determined access to Büchner’s work, the viewing experience is shaped by external conditions and the individual impression. Thereby, the inside and the outside play a role in the subjective perception as well as being antagonists in the film.
The video depicts a child being left to its own devices. Without the supervision of an adult, it wanders around the rooms of an abandoned holiday home, lost in thought. Through a window it observes the outside world. A searching gaze into the distance, strongly reminiscent of the yearning paintings from the Romantic period in which the individual, with its personal and inherent feelings and thoughts stood at the forefront. The child in Droopy Rose also seems to be striving for the emancipated self. With no one in the house to stop it, the child starts watching television. In a scripted reality TV show it is confronted with the character of Daniela, a woman supposedly addicted to cream, whose everyday life seems destined to fail. However, the actress playing Daniela does not surrender to the fate of her character. On the contrary, she deliberately exaggerates her performance, resulting in a break with the role ascribed to her. Taking Daniela as an example, the child questions the ever-recurring patterns of behaviour it perceives in its immediate environment and looks for a way out of the constraints of social conventions.
On the visual surface, the film goes one step further: it not only shows how the child’s identification with Daniela stimulates reflection on its own life situation. It also shows how superimpositions on the image plane, be it reflections on glass or in a mirror, lead to a merging of the two characters. One person, one script, one camera team – both actors have to adhere to a predetermined screenplay while being observed by cameras, which provides a fixed framework for their actions. In this constellation, however, the viewers are also awarded a role, for the perception of the film and the exhibition space are not seen as separate entities in this installation. The external view onto the video screens as well as onto the child is reflected in the child’s observant gaze onto the television and onto the character of Daniela. A third layer opens up, in which the viewers are able to draw conclusions about their personal, possibly preordained, lives. Only in this scenario they are allowed to write the script for their narrative themselves.
Whether it was social conventions or even family history that shaped lives in the building that was constructed in 1886 – the rooms of the stately home on Schweizerstraße not only function as a visual framework for the reception process, but also as a contextual one. Ultimately, the video installation of Droopy Rose can be understood as a deliberately placed, spatial intervention that stands in stark contrast to the exhibition venue and also breaks with common viewing habits.
Theresa Büchner (*1993, Aachen) develops cinematic, photographic and text-based works. She began her studies at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach and went on to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam until 2018. Since 2019, Theresa Büchner has been continuing her studies at the Städelschule (class of Willem de Rooij) in Frankfurt am Main, where she will graduate in 2022. Most recently, her video work Droopy Rose (2021) was shown at the Kassel Dokfest, where she was also nominated for the Golden Key, the prize awarded for the best documentary work by young filmmakers.
Text: Vivien Kämpf
Translation: Lucy Nixon