“Der Raum zwischen den Personen kann die Decke tragen” (or “The Space Between the Characters Can Carry the Load”) is the title of an exhibition showcasing the Ivo Wessel Collection that opened on December 5th 2015 and is currently being shown at the Weserburg, Bremen’s Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition features work from a total of 30 artists, including the recently completed video piece“James Reading – Reading James” from Donata Wenders. The nearly six-minute-long film collage portrays leading man James Franco in the process of tirelessly devouring dozens of books while reading during breaks in shooting on the set of Wim Wenders’ most recent 3D feature film EVERY THING WILL BE FINE.With her film, Donata Wenders lets us see through her eyes for several fleeting moments, and provides a glimpse behind the scenes, hence adding to the story told by the director.
Her video piece derives not only from two decades of close collaboration with Wim Wenders. It rather is the product of the enormous wealth of images with which she has documented his creative work and drawn connections between the various areas of the work, now translating it into another artistic medium that stands on its own terms.
The title of the exhibition in Bremen is a reference to a dialogue passage in Wim Wenders’ 1982 film THE STATE OF THINGS, in which director Friedrich Munroe debates with his producer whether movies necessarily need to have stories in the way that houses need supporting walls, observing that the load can instead be carried by the space between the characters. The film is at once a reflection on the poetry and the crisis of cinema. Wenders’ first experiences in Hollywood also influenced the film, particularly the period where he had begun his work for Francis Ford Coppola on the private detective film HAMMETT and at one point broke off filming to travel to Portugal.
THE STATE OF THINGS is a found film, according to Wenders himself, one that “also attempts to create a certain distance through its reduction to black and white. And it is really the first one of my films that took its cue more from ideas than from a physically concrete performance situation.”
Nevertheless, it is once again a place that serves as the departure point for the story. In the film within the film, the apocalyptic doomsday vision of a fictional science-fiction classic unfolds in an abandoned hotel on the Portuguese coast. Black and white photographs of this very hotel on the Praia Grande can be seen in both the Weserburg in Bremen and at the exhibition IN BROAD DAYLIGHT EVEN THE SOUNDS SHINE, which opened on November 7th to accompany a Wenders retrospective in the framework of the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival and will continue to be on display in Reservatório da Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras through April 2nd 2016. The Lisbon exhibition, whose title is taken from a quote from Fernando Pessoa, brings together 28 photographs, which were taken between 1980 and 1994 in the scope of preparations for the filming of the features THE STATE OF THINGS, UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD and LISBON STORY.
In front of the Hotel Arribas, which still welcomes guests today, the winter-grey sea stretches out serenely beyond the sands of Praia Grande. “I always dreamt of this place in black and white. Black and white with countless shades of grey. Perhaps my dream was also the epilogue of an old film, a memory, grown blurry at the edges with time, with the colors all bled out,” as Verena Lueken writes in the travel section of the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .1 Two years after THE STATE OF THINGS, the film PARIS, TEXAS would unleash the force of color in all its radiant glory on cinema screens around the world. It is Wenders’ very own space between the characters that is filled all the way to the ceiling with a vibrant richness. We intend to press on with our mission to capture every facet of this space and make it visible for all to see.
We would like to thank all of our staff members, partners, project initiators, sources of inspiration, advisors, compatriots and friends who have accompanied us throughout this eventful and extraordinary year and helped us to make it so special indeed. We would like to wish all of you a harmonious holiday season and a smooth start in the New Year!
On behalf of the Board of Directors
and the whole WWS team,