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Van Abbemuseum opens MANON DE BOER Encounters

Van Abbemuseum presents MANON DE BOER Encounters an exhibition on view 08/06/2013 – 15/09/2013.

Manon de Boer, Think About Wood, Think About Metal, 2011.
Manon de Boer, Think About Wood, Think About Metal, 2011.

The solo exhibition ‘Manon de Boer – Encounters’ shows a trilogy of cinematic portraits by the Dutch artist and filmmaker Manon de Boer (born 1966, Kodaicanal, India). The three films in the museum’s collection can now be seen together for the first time: ‘Sylvia Kristel – Paris’ (2003) about the actress Sylvia Kristel, ‘Resonating Surfaces’ (2005) about the psychoanalyst and cultural critic Suely Rolnik and ‘Think About Wood, Think About Metal’ (2011) about the percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky. The exhibition also shows documentary materials such as audio and video fragments, reviews, scores, posters and books.

De Boer asked these three women who fascinated her about the experiences which were decisive for their work and lives in the 1970s. The protagonists talk about their personal circumstances, meetings and events in the past in voice-off. As a result of the special way in which the images, sounds and spoken words are edited, the films have several layers which also deal with themes such as memory, time, the body and listening through the subject of the portrait.

Sylvia Kristel – Paris (2003), 40’
In this film the Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who died in 2012, talks about her years in Paris, when she became very famous for her role in the erotic cult film Emmanuelle (1974). De Boer made two recordings at different times in which Kristel talks about the start of her acting career. The changing nature of the memory is emphasised when stories about the details of the same event diverge in the two versions.Super-8 images of Kristel at the time of the interview alternate with images of Paris.

Resonating Surfaces (2005), 39’
The Brazilian psychoanalyst and cultural critic Suely Rolnik talks about the Brazilian dictatorship during the 1960s, Tropicalismo and her exile in Paris, when she studied under the French thinkers Guattari and Deleuze in the 1970s. The film shows how Rolnik’s body –and therefore her personality – opens up when it is used as a sounding board, a medium or a carrier. When she talks about the liberating power of Brazilian music and Tropicalismo, she also says something about the Brazilian dictatorship.

Think about Wood, Think about Metal (2011), 48’
The music of the American percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky has a central place in this work. She worked together with composers such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Christian Wolff and developed to become one of the best-known female avant-garde percussionists of the time. Fragments from Schulkowsky’s life are accompanied by musical compositions which she performs on and off screen. Her memories of the 1970s revolved around the start of her stay in Germany, where she became part of the burgeoning avant-garde community.

In De Boers’s own cinematography the viewer experiences in each portrait that the past is not fixed, but is experienced from the present. The three intimate portraits not only question the possibility of a coherent and stable biography, but also define the role which memories play in defining who you are at any moment. While she focuses on individuals and their personal stories, De Boer presents a philosophy of life which applies both for the people she is filming and for herself as an artist: a way of thinking and living determined by creative strength and openness.