Deimantas Narkevicius

For his first solo London exhibition and to coincide with the 20 years anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the BFI have commissioned celebrated Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevicius to create a new work based on the BFI National Archive's ETV Collection of socialist propaganda films, the largest of its kind surviving in Western Europe.

Better known for his exploration of different narrative structures through film and video, Narkevicius' films examine the perception of historical memory, which can be modified by ideologies and utopias, revealing how memory is subjective and the moving image can deceive. Throughout last year the artist has explored the ETV Collection, concentrating particularly on documentary films from East and Central Europe in order to create 'Into the Unknown' a film edited out of existing, politically motivated found footage originally made to promote the socialist way of living.

The materials selected depict every day life of East Berliners documented during the DDR (German Democratic Republic) period, the new work exposing the individuals' place into strict social systems. By re-editing different clips of existing films and mixing up sound, the artist's intention was to bring back a certain existential weight to the cinematic representations of socialist archetypical figures. Old workers, young pupils, concerned doctors and nurses are just fragile human beings, vulnerable to the flow of time. The same flow of time which made the political system they were living in fade away two decades ago.

Some of the people documented in the footage are still alive and yet the social visual canon they are representing today only exists in the films produced by the DEFA (the DDR Film Corporation). 'Into the Unknown' allows us to reflect on an ephemeral style of image making which is gone and whether this applies only to the system of state socialism. 'Into the Unknown' will be installed alongside the award-winning 'The Dud Effect' (2008), a film shot in a disused Soviet army base in Lithuania.
Deimantas Narkevicius


Event Title: Deimantas Narkevicius
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