Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ghosts Before Breakfast

The German modernist Hans Richter (1888 - 1976) was a painter, graphic artist and experimental filmmaker.

He initially painted in a cubist style, but moved into film - being best known for his experiments in avantgarde cinema. He was also a founding member of the Dada movement.

He is quoted as saying:

"Influenced by cubism and its search for structure, but not satisfied with what it offered, I found myself between 1913-1918 increasingly faced with the conflict of suppressing spontaneous expression in order to gain an objective understanding of a fundamental principle with which I could control the ‘heap of fragments’ inherited from the cubists.

Thus I gradually lost interest in the subject – in any subject – and focused instead on the positive-negative (white-black) opposition, which at least gave me a working hypothesis whereby I could organize the relationship of one part of a painting to the other."

The film Ghosts Before Breakfast (Virmittagspuk) was created in 1927. "This was a silent experimental avant-garde film and it was the fifth film that he had made. The film itself is considered to be one of the first surrealistic films ever made.

Richter's interest in Dadaism is shown directly in this work as he challenges current art standards of the time by presenting a theme of obscurity and fantasy.
This film digs into the viewer's mind for inner experience in thought and idea. It gives the audience a chance to release nervous tension when witnessing these abstractions shown through images. Richter tries to increase the viewer's knowledge of reality by showing them surrealistic fantasy. He accomplishes this through his use of rhythm, and his use of the camera."

Suggested further reading: here, here and here for example.

Second quote from here.

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