Clara S Rueprich

This event has now finished. Until Oct 5 2010

Still from 'Condition M', 2006, by Clara S Rueprich Still from 'Condition M', 2006, by Clara S Rueprich - The artist and Josh Lilley Gallery

Time Out says  

Posted: Mon Sep 20 2010

If the recent fuss over Tony Blair's memoirs is anything to go by, we are all still waiting for Napoleon; quite a few of us thought Blair might fit the job description, and it's ironic that Iraq has ruined his heroic credibility in a way that Moscow never did for Bonaparte.

In the titular piece, 'Waiting for Napoleon', German video artist Clara S Rueprich offers a wordless testimony to our ability to wait, and find meaning in the waiting. A black sea fidgets through the window as the sky lightens to lime. A clock ticks. Day is coming, but it's unlikely that our prince will. The whole vision resembles the background to a renaissance portrait: it cries out for a person to fill the frame, but no one appears.

The touching, elegiac quality of that piece, as well as of 'Awakening', and 'Ariel', in which a beautiful blond child sleeps on a darkening screen as its twin, showing a treescape and lake, lightens, is definitely missing from 'Condition M'. A keeper first prevents then permits the gobbling of a line of meat by a pack of hounds, while the camera stares fixedly at his whip, the dead flesh and swarming dogs. The barking is deafening, the atmosphere of violence deeply disconcerting. But the unease we feel at Ariel's somnolent immobility on that ominously scarlet carpet is far more affecting.

As the stills from her next film show, Rueprich has a wonderful eye, but beauty, in nature or art, is never quite enough alone. Rueprich is making a good job of her vigil; still, for her art's sake, I hope Napoleon shows up. Don't we all?

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