rainer ganahl

seminars/lectures (s/l)


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s/l: photographs 20 x 24 inches 1995 -

An Ongoing Project by Rainer Ganahl

Notes on “Seminars/Lectures” (S/L) by Rainer Ganahl

a) S/L is the mapping of a utopia—a place without
barriers and truly democratic. The academic circuit as a network of interconnecting
tunnels with people gathering in stuffy rooms and auditoriums for the
sake of exchanging ideas. The series exudes a sense of urgency, a feeling
that the ideals of humanism are being fought for almost in an underground
manner. (Consider this: when the military junta took over the power in
Brazil in 1964, their first deliberation was to close the Philosophy Department
in all universities in the country.)

b) S/L reminds me of some films by Robert Bresson, particularly the later ones
in which he used mainly non-actors. Films such as The Devil, Probably, or
Four Nights of a Dreamer are incredibly beautiful mostly because of the
naturalism that the characters convey. Bresson achieved something big
there-he tells us parables and at the same time he documents an era.
The faces of young people that populate his films tell us the exact time
that the film was madeó-a perfect balance of fiction and history. (Something that
Larry Clark also attempted in “Kids”). S/L treads the same path. The fiction is
largely lived by Rainer Ganahl himself as a sort of full-time performance in
which he makes himself available to given circumstances in the academic
circuit as a spectator, a flaneur, a voyeur, a fan, a stalker. The historical
aspect comes through the large cast of character that populates the photographs.

c) S/L has an amazing scope. It has affinity both with August Sanderís Neue Sachlichkeit
style, and Gerhard Richter’s typological impetus in “Atlas”. It is also equally democratic—
a space that embraces thinkers as diverse as Edward Said, Jacques Derrida and Spike Lee.

A.S. Bessa


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