Lerne Deutsch mit Petra von Kant / Learn German with Petra von Kant

Lerne Deutsch mit Petra Von Kant / Learn German with Petra von KantLerne Deutsch mit Petra Von Kant /
Learn German with Petra von Kant

digital video installation
10:00 mins loop


This work was developed by the artist as part of a personal, self-designed German language and cultural immersion programme, while he was preparing to relocate to Berlin in August 2007.

Believing that one of the best ways to get insight into a foreign culture is through the films of that country, the artist has adopted one of his favourite German films as his guide, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, about a successful but arrogant fashion designer in her mid-thirties, who falls into despair when she loses the woman she loves.

Putting himself in the mould of German actress Margit Carstensen as Petra Von Kant – a role for which she won several awards – the artist attempts to articulate himself through as wide a range of emotions as displayed by the actress in the climactic scene from the film, where our tragic lovesick anti-heroine goes through a hysterical disintegration.

With this work the artist rehearses going through the motions and emotions and articulating the words for situations that he believes he may encounter when he moves to Berlin as a post-35-year-old, single, gay, ethnic-minority mid-career artist – i.e. feeling bitter, desperate, or washed up. (“Ich bin im Arsch”)

With these tools, he will be armed with the right words and modes of expressions to communicate his feelings effectively to his potential German compatriots.

Exhibited at:
Images Festival – Art Gallery of York University, Toronto 2009
Vain Efforts – Gallery 4A, Sydney 2009
mononoaware – MK Galerie, Rotterdam 2009
I Queerelanti – Galleria neon>campobase, Bologna 2008
ART FORUM BERLIN – Berlin Exhibition Grounds 2008
Everybody Knows This is Nowhere – Galerie Wendt + Friedmann, Berlin 2008
Streng Verdaulich – ZKM Center for Art& Media, Karlsruhe 2008
Kunstverein Dusseldorf Filmprogramm – May-July 2008
KUNSTINVASION – Blumengroßmart, Berlin 31 May – 1 June 2008
Damn! I Wish I’d Done That!! Artist’s Works I Wish I’d Made
– Project Space 176, London, 28 Feb 2008, curated by Harold Offeh
– Chapter, Wales 2008, curated by Hannah Firth
Futurama and re-inventing tradition? – Collegium Hungaricum Berlin 2007
S.T.O.R.A.G.E : Ming Wong – The Agency Gallery, London 2007