Alex Martinis Roe. Cut, 2009.
The book features as body metaphor in Cut and Blätter, two recent films by Berlin based artist Alex Martinis Roe. These works continue the artist’s investigations into the body through performance, video and installation. Shot in near monochrome, and exquisitely spare in detail, each presents a simple representation of the body as subject to violent external forces which divide and destabilize.
In Cut we see the spine of the book being split with surgical precision at the hands of the artist. The process is one of deft movement, and is executed cleanly, but the implied brutality of the act is impossible to disregard. Blätter (which translates as both ‘pages’ and ‘leaves’) also shows a book with spine split; here the pages become dislodged from their position in the book and are blown away. The soundtrack, a gathering storm, wind chimes and ambulance, suggest an urban setting, and contribute an atmosphere of drama and foreboding. Of Blätter, Martinis Roe says ‘if the book is a body, then Blätter is a body with unstable and changing boundaries: resistant to normative conceptions of it as a unit’. Cut and Blätter raise questions about what happens when the underlying structure of the body or ‘text’ is ruptured, and it no longer makes sense as a discrete whole.
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