Lutz Dammbeck: Filme und Mediencollagen 1975-1986

Lutz Dammbeck: Filme und Mediencollagen 1975-1986

Edition Filmmuseum 38

In his pictures, films, collages and installations, the painter and filmmakerLutz Dammbeck seeks a synthesis of expressive means from the genres of film and fine art. His work to date identifies him as one of the key representatives of independent film and media art in the former GDR and as a unique, outstanding phenomenon within modern contemporary art. The 2-disc DVD presents for the first time all his animation films and media works, including an extensive booklet with essays about Lutz Dammbeck's filmic work and a lot of documents about his fight with state authorities as ROM features.

The Films

The Moon - GDR 1975 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Helmut Krahnert - Music by: Thomas Hertel - Produced by: DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme, Dresden - Premiere: January 21, 1977

Live! - GDR 1978 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Helmut Krahnert - Music by: Bernd Wefelmeyer - Produced by: DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme, Dresden - Premiere: July 7, 1978

Metamorphosis I - GDR 1979 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Peter Pohler - Produced by: Mogollon-Film, Leipzig - Premiere: 1979

The Tailor of Ulm - GDR 1979 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck, based on a poem by Bertolt Brecht - Photographed by: Erich Günther - Music by: Thomas Hertel - Produced by: DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme, Babelsberg - Premiere: March 7, 1980

Einmart - GDR 1981 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Hans Schöne - Music by: Thomas Hertel - Produced by: DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme, Dresden - Premiere: November 27, 1981

Hommage à La Sarraz - GDR 1981 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Thomas Plenert - Produced by: Mogollon-Film, Leipzig - Premiere: 1981

The Discovery - GDR 1983 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Hans Schöne - Music by: Thomas Hertel - Produced by: DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme, Dresden - Premiere: March 9, 1984

The Flood - GDR 1986 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck, based on a Chinese fable - Photographed by: Lutz Kleber - Music by: Günter Sommer - Produced by: DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme, Dresden - Premiere: February 20, 1987

The Cave of Hercules - Germany 1983-90 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Eberhard Geick - Music by: Jörg Udo Lensing - With: Eva Schmale, Karen Freisicke, Sophie Plessing, Peter Franke - Produced by: Lutz Dammbeck Filmproduktion, Hamburg - Premiere: May 8, 1990 (SWF)

Duke Ernst - Germany 1984-93 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck, based on a medieval legend - Photographed by: Ernst Hammes - Music by: Manfrd Schoof, Jörg Udo Lensing - Produced by: Lutz Dammbeck Filmproduktion, Hamburg - Premiere: April 1, 1994 (ARD)

REALFilm - GDR 1986-2008 - Directed, written and designed by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: Immo Fritzsche - With: Fine Kwiatkowski, Lutz Dammbeck - Produced by: Lutz Dammbeck Filmproduktion, Hamburg - Premiere: First release on DVD

Gespräch mit Lutz Dammbeck - Germany 2008 - Directed and written by: Lutz Dammbeck - Photographed by: - With: Lutz Dammbeck - Produced by: Lutz Dammbeck Filmproduktion, Hamburg - Premiere: First release on DVD

About the DVD

On the one hand, Lutz Dammbeck made a number of films in the state's studios of the GDR, but he also worked systematically on the concept of a "parallel cinema", which operated quite independent of all the censors stipulations regarding content and form. These two facets of his work have now been brought together in this publication. Bringing them together in this way reveals mutual permeation, but also indicates above all an emancipative continuity that points beyond the contradiction between state art and subculture. It is only logical, therefore, that the publication also includes films that were begun in the GDR, but only realised after Dammbeck's emigration from Leipzig to Hamburg in 1986. The inclusion of fragments can almost be considered more important; these explode the traditional concept of film. Only by including in the DVD release some rare recordings of his media collages, including test recordings, is it possible to even suppose the intention of Dammbeck's overall concept.

The artist began to focus on moving images at an early stage. In 1972, when he completed his course at the "College of Graphic Art and Book Design" in Leipzig, an animation-scenario already represented a part of his diploma piece. Although he worked successfully as a poster designer only a little later (and received several awards for this work), his primary interest was in intermedia working methods. This corresponded to his own impulse to extend the two-dimensionality of the classic panel picture into free space. Filmmaking became a concrete experience when he was able to realise his first filmic work on 35mm; THE Moon made at the DEFA in 1975. Three years later, he advanced to the experienced utopia by making his privately produced, experimental film Metamorphoses 1. From then onwards, Dammbeck worked on two parallel tracks in his cinematic oeuvre, and he touched the limits in both fields. Under latent censorship of content and aesthetics at the DEFA , and under the rather provisional technical conditions of artistic autonomy. In an almost exemplary way, Dammbecks career demonstrates the restrictions inevitably experienced by a filmmaker and artist with considerable talent, active in many fields, when attempting to balance artistic pretensions and social reality in East Germany.

As a direct consequence of the DEFA's "official" rejection of his Heracles film concept, Lutz Dammbeck developed his interdisciplinary experimental set-ups, which he referred to as "media collages", from 1981 onwards. This idea emerged from an emergency situation determined by cultural bureaucracy: Dammbeck actually wanted to make a film, but was thrown back on fine arts in the widest sense. Interestingly, the energy triggered by this work goes far beyond what a film might have achieved. When he used graphic elements within his multifaceted installation compositions, their montage almost always went hand in hand with their deconstruction. Found or reproduced material like the photographs of sculptures by sculptors Breker, Thorak and Kolbe are torn up and attached with rough stitching to other photos at their torn edges, e.g. to a self-portrait of the artist. By making the cracks visible, Dammbeck formulates an important principle of design, which runs through his entire oeuvre: he does not make use of collage in order to bring harmony to the components, but always to make the transitions themselves as joins recognisable as components of the montage.

Claus Löser


DVD features (2-disc DVD)

DVD 1

  • The Moon 1975, 6'
  • Live! 1987, 10'
  • The Tailor of Ulm 1979, 14'
  • Einmart 1981, 15'
  • The Discovery 1983, 17'
  • The Flood 1986, 10'
  • Duke Ernst 1984-93, 45'
  • Conversation with Lutz Dammbeck - Teil 1 2008, 23'
  • Posters designed by Lutz Dammbeck 1977-1986
  • 20-page booklet with essays by Fred Gehler, Claus Löser, Bärbel Dalichow and Ralf Foster

DVD 2

  • Metamorphosis I 1979, 7'
  • Hommage à La Sarraz 1981, 12'
  • REALFilm 1986-2008, 48'
  • The Cave of Hercules 1983-90, 45'
  • Prepation for the media collage REALFilm 1986, 5'
  • Media collage Hercules 1985, 4'
  • Conversation with Lutz Dammbeck - Teil 2 2008, 20'
  • Texts, documents and drawings by Lutz Dammbeck as ROM features

Edited by: Filmmuseum Potsdam in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Stefan Drössler

First edition August 2008

Review

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