Perhaps the most important living German director, Werner Herzog simultaneously demands and defies critical analysis. An auteur of the New German Film, his obsessive engagement with the form and tireless creative capacity are mapped in the abundance and diversity of his oeuvre. With over 70 feature films and documentaries to his name, the longevity and legacy of Herzog is a testament to the purity of his aesthetic sensibilities. His eye for the iconic goes well beyond the kino – the strange language of his potent imagery seems to be embedded en masse into our cultural subconscious.
Opening August 24, it is the first time the extensive Werner Herzog Archive, which is maintained by Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, will be made accessible to the public. An internationally collaborative project, curated in cooperation with EYE Amsterdam and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, Werner Herzog: The Exhibition aims to reconsider the discourse around “media phenomenon” Herzog’s cult status. Accompanying the selected exhibits will be media installations which encourage critical engagement on the ethical responsibility and aesthetic strategies in his work.
Divided into four chapters, the section titled ‘Nature’ presents the breathtaking beauty and grandeur of nature through Herzog’s “cosmos of unseen images” with an audio guide prepared by Herzog and his team. ‘Controversial’ examines everything from allegations of megalomania and the aestheticisation of horror, to the ethics of his methodology and the exploitation of amateur actors. Elsewhere, the exhibition takes a deep dive into Herzog’s curiosity about the human condition, as well as an intriguing juxtaposition of the public and personal through documents, such as media coverage, private letters and diary entries. Whether or not the exhibition helps us to understand the enigma or further adds to the mythology of Herzog, the new material and perspectives on one of the great provocateurs of modern cinema is not to be missed.
- Deutsche Kinemathek, Mitte Through Mar 27, 2023