Grace Schwindt: 'ONLY A FREE INDIVIDUAL CAN CREATE A FREE SOCIETY'
28 June – 2 August 2014
Public Preview: Friday 27 June, 6–8pm
Eastside Projects presents ‘ONLY A FREE INDIVIDUAL CAN CREATE A FREE SOCIETY’, a new film installation by Grace Schwindt revisiting discussions she witnessed as a child surrounded by leftwing individuals in Frankfurt, Germany. The dialogue running through the film is from an interview that Schwindt conducted with a leftwing activist influenced by the 1960s and 70s political landscape, shaped by the Frankfurt School, the Outer Parliamentary Opposition and the Baader Meinhof Gang. The interview was recorded via telephone as he was driving his taxi from the countryside to the city. The taxi driver appears throughout the work as one of a series of carefully choreographed elements that come together in a script, which might be better described as a score.
Rather than aiming to gain a better understanding of the past, Schwindt attempts to take a system apart – to undo it. Nothing is assumed to be neutral and every movement, word, gesture or colour is understood to have cultural, social, political or economic implications. The artist constructs her own processes of translating language into vivid material, choreographing dancers, set, props, costume, lighting, sound, camera movement and words as elementary forms carrying symbolic power. Each element is equally important and should be read together as a melody where the words or functions of ‘chair’ or ‘terrorism’, ‘clothing’ or ‘freedom’ have equal status.
At feature film length ‘Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society’ is the product of an extensive rehearsal period with eleven dancers and a dramaturg over a period of 5 weeks using diagrams to map out a detailed choreography. The film draws on thirty costume makers crafting costumes using aluminium, cardboard, silk, velvet, as well as extensive post-production video compositing. The film is projected across a large curtained set in the gallery partly mirroring the shifting landscape of the film.
Schwindt creates a narrative that questions how freedom was, and is, understood, who has access to it and what political and social structures need to be in place to create a free society.
‘Grace Schwindt: Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society’
Commissioned by FLAMIN Productions through Film London Artists' Moving Image Network, Eastside Projects and The Showroom, in association with Badischer Kunstverein; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Site Gallery; Tramway; and ICIA, University of Bath; Zeno X Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England, Hessian Film Fund, The Jerwood Charitable Foundation.’
Grace Schwindt (born 1979, Germany) is an artist based in London working with film, live performance and sculpture. Her theatrical sets for film works use minimal architectural elements and props to mark a location, in which she places bodies including her own. Using a tightly scripted choreography in which every move relates to institutionalised systems she investigates how social relations and understandings about oneself are formed, often through acts of exclusion and destruction . The artist’s interviews with individuals often serve as a starting point for fictionalised dialogues delivered by performers.
Represented by Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, her work is distributed by Argos Centre for Media and Art. Recent solo presentations include South London Gallery, ICA, Whitechapel Gallery, Spill Festival, Basement (Brighton), Collective Gallery (Edinburgh) and White Columns (New York). Schwindt was shortlisted for this year’s Jarman Film Award.