The ISHO complex is hosting the exhibition curated by Mihnea Mircan, Landscape in a Convex Mirror, which includes a film programme adding a reconfigured dimension to the works on display.

One day the day will come when the day will not come, a phrase borrowed from an essay by Paul Virilio that gives the title of the programme, is a testimony of the oscillation between the sharpened and the distorted vision of distance. The programme brings together twenty-two artists and a selection from the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k. Video-Forum collection, Berlin.

Through their dynamic images, the films are incursions into the kaleidoscopic universe of Mihnea Mircan’s juxtapositions, where the vertigo of the experience of looking through a convex lens reveals relative distances that are difficult to define accurately. However, the films also provide the temporality that completes the equation. This hybridization of an exhibition was the subject of broad visions of the ever-expanding self, of the shortcomings that stemmed from the constraints of distance but gave rise to artistic initiatives adapted to new realities.

In the screening room, the public’s experience re-centres on what was viewed as a static image in the exhibition. The re-immersion in the filmic perspective of the deformed, fractured image, where the same defocalised relationship between space and subjects is revealed, makes the dynamism of the video camera all the more intriguing. This time, the encounter with works whose connections and paths take us on wide-angle journeys occurs in the immaterial representation of the film that creates a complementary and necessary experience within the temporality it provides to the previous space.

The films deal with themes related to spatial horizons or reversed concrete vision parameters. A World Undone (2012) by Nicholas Mangan documents one of the earliest discovered minerals, zirconium, at a speed of 2,500 frames per second, creating an ambiguous view of the origins of the Earth. Sven Johne’s Greatest Show on Earth (2011) is an eccentric, revealing and evocative complex of images about going to the circus. Ingo Günther’s Rotorama (1985) wanted to fight television with digital (editing) and kinetic (rotating screens) artifices. Susan Schuppli in Can the Sun Lie? (2014) uses photography as a witness of the devastating effects of climate changes. In their film Plant (2020), artist Ruth Höflich and her mother focus their efforts on collating events, photographs and testimonies to reproduce the trial of a woman believed to be a witch in the 18th century, right in the house where they live.

Szabolcs KissPál in Edging (2003) focuses on the inability of a bird to leave the screen area. No matter how many times it tries, it is doomed to remain an immaterial image. No Image, No Camouflage (2018) by Larisa Crunțeanu portrays absence by means of a humanoid shape camouflaged with a checkerboard pattern and moving through a landscape – a convention used mainly in graphic design – to suggest the lack of any image. In her film Outwardly from Earth’s Centre (2007), Rosa Barba describes a fictional world that is in danger of disappearing due to its geographical position on an unstable piece of land and comes up with absurd, caricature-like solutions. Pauline Julier, in Naturales Historiae (2019), challenges man’s way of representing nature through oracles and predictions.

In Relative Swingings (1973), Dora Maurer questions the position of the documentary eye in an intriguing and dynamic editing that causes almost intimate confusion. Regina Kelaita, in Vertigo (2005), inspires a feeling of acrophobia by positioning herself in the dangerous space of a building. Here and there (2019) is a story by artist Melisa Liebenthal and her family, who retraced their migration route using photos, maps and Google Earth. Phillip Warnell’s Intimate Distances (2020) redefines the expectations for fictional documentary with frames resembling surveillance footage of discussions between a casting director and passers-by on a street corner in Queens, New York.

BestBucharest: Religion (2017) by Hans van Houwelingen is a conversation between an artist, a real estate agent and a politician about gold in Orthodox Christian culture and how it can be interpreted spiritually and materially. Calle della morte (2008) by Cristian Rusu shows the effort to hold the video camera stable in an attempt to film a street sign – a self-fulfilling prophecy. In How to Feel Real (2021), Robertas Narkus takes us through infinite digital spaces, behind the cockpit of a plane that seems about to crash, however, emotions quickly shift from fear to amazement and ecstasy at the fact that it is immune to textures. Laure Prouvost’s film They Parlaient Idéale (2019) challenges the public to think in political terms, to assume their identity, race and ideological affiliation, by highlighting the Venice Biennale pavilion where she also displayed a playful and ironic comment. 

Love (Revelation) (2016) by Patricia Teodorescu is a digital aquatic “painting” produced by means of processing and editing mixed with a very emotional scene. Running Away from Home (2000) and There Is No Place like Home (1999) are David Krippendorff’s films in which scenes from The Wizard of Oz are changed to underline a compulsive, repetitive tendency, and the path and the speech have the same finality: an infinite loop. In Eight Miles High (2001), Domingo Molina Cortés uses night footage to render an abstract landscape in a 3D programme as the point of intersection of escape lines and possible refuges of hope.

The Elephant Who Was a Rhinoceros (2017-2018), by Erik Bünger, explores how language incorporates collective memories about bears, wolves, elephants and ravens and how existence is analysed outside the names man has given to these species, while looking for the imprint of an unnamed, unheard of being. In Untitled (2005), Ciprian Mureșan shows a camera falling from a roof. It is a reference to Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void, but in the Romanian artist’s work the fall gains a different meaning, that of what one sees before one dies.