In her Paris Calligrammes exhibition, Ulrike Ottinger, the filmmaker, photographer and collector of worlds, takes us back to the 1960s when she lived and worked in Paris as a freelance artist. Her films and research materials, enriched and commented on by objects from her personal inventory, are the basis of the exhibition: a walk-in collage installation that invites us to linger and to wander.
Ulrike Ottinger weaves her personal memories of the Parisian Bohème and the severe social, political and cultural upheavals of that time into a cinematic "figural poem." In the tradition of the fla neur, she seeks out places that were significant for her personally as well as for the decade of the 1960s. In the Librairie Calligrammes led by Fritz Picard, she meets German and French avant-garde artists of literature and art. The Cinémathèque Française would become a special attraction for her. Here, she watched films by the French Nouvelle Vague, by the independents from the USA, unknowns from Asian countries, the Soviet republics, Africa, the Maghreb and also film history. Her love of cinema was ignited.
At that time, Paris was not only the meeting place for intellectuals and artists from all over the world, but was also seized by decolonial movements and political upheavals. In addition, student protests against the Vietnam War and racial discrimination began in the mid-1960s. Ulrike Ottinger describes how she experienced this period of artistic, political and social awakening. With her own artistic and ethnographic view, she links the historical reports, insights and pictorial representations with her personal travel notes and photographs. Thus, the past and present meet in the film; historical and cultural changes become distinct. A tension arises between then and now, showing how inseparably the two belong together.
Part of 100 Years of Now